Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dallas News: Prosecutorial misconduct deserves 'more than a slap on the wrist'

A Dallas News staff editorial titled "Policing the Prosecutors" (Oct. 24) commented favorably on the state bar's lawsuit against Williamson County District Judge and former District Attorney Ken Anderson over alleged "Brady violations," or withholding exculpatory evidence, in the Michael Morton case, previewing the court of inquiry scheduled for December. However, they warned:
state lawmakers can’t wait for the results of these inquiries to strengthen the laws against prosecutorial misconduct and find more effective ways to prevent it.

One step advocated by experts, including the state’s Timothy Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions, is mandatory pretrial reciprocal file sharing between prosecutors and defense attorneys. Cards on the table, in other words.

Identifying blatantly malfeasant prosecutors is a tougher issue for lawmakers, since those who make honest mistakes deserve legal protection, and honest professionals should not be subject to harassment by criminals who belong in prison.

But dishonesty and willful violation of constitutional rights deserve more than a slap on the wrist. The Legislature should make that clear.
Related: See, "What can the Texas Legislature do to reduce prosecutorial misconduct?"


DEWEY said...

Slap on the wrist? I've got a baseball bat.

Anonymous said...

I know we don't need any more laws but should it perhaps be a criminal offense? Could we call it obstruction of justice?

I'm grasping as there would never be any will on the part of the Lege to even consider it.

doran said...

"...mandatory pretrial reciprocal file sharing between prosecutors and defense attorneys." is not a good idea. At least not a good idea as phrased: What do these editorial writers mean by "file"?

Anonymous said...

Reciprocal sharing?

If this means that the defense gives to the prosecution copies of all its documents (hardcopy and electronic), and copies of all its consultant's and expert's documents, then this is a pretty fundmental shift in how things are done.

I can't see the defense bar supporting this even conceptually.

Stephanie said...

More to the point, I don't see the US Constitution supporting this even conceptually.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Grits, I for one, can’t wait for an update.

"However, they warned:
state lawmakers can’t wait"

Q. Can you expand on this, are there lawmakers somewhere with names just itching to strengthen laws...?

Sadly, I could be wrong but know damn well I'm not - The State Bar of Texas is comprised of dues paying frat / click of: attorneys / lawyers that mirror the TBP&P's Clemency Section that mirrors your typical Internal Affairs. All, secretly "Cherry Pick" through mounds of alleged injustice(s) as an illusion, in an attempt to make us think they are legit. Sleeping giants (glorified hall monitors’) until the Press, wealthy or famous get in their face.

Basically, faking out the public at large with toothless, red herring, way after the fact inquiries and the uncanny ability to systematically Ignore claims / petitions void of DNA, Death Row and not Active / Open 100% of the time. *There has to be more we can do besides hoping & praying the well dressed & degreed gangs spank themselves. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

With who-knows-how-many falsely accused and imprisoned people languishing in prisons (or graveyards) around the country due to judicial, prosecutorial and forensics misconduct/abuse, perhaps such misconduct and abuse by forensics workers, prosecutors and judges should carry a mandatory life sentence or the death penalty. Perhaps then, "justice for all" might actually mean something. Those that wield the power of life and death over citizens via gavels, guns, cages and needles would better serve us if they had the Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. The search for the truth should never be sullied by: avarice; the greed of those who perpetuate the prison industrial complex; or an individual or group's quest for power.

john said...

So why not research the fact that Texas never allowed attorneys to vote in things that conflicted their interests? The Senate was mostly lawyers at the time they voted in the State Bar---and it's been getting more crooked, ever since. It's completely void, never existed, and they are so rich from it you/we will never stop them.
No one in power goes by the laws that limit their power, anymore. Ask Drone Boy up there in Washout DC. But don't hallucinate it's just the randy twisted FEDS that are traitors.

uh-oh, it's a captcha-cha (WHAT word?)

Anonymous said...

So many innocent criminal, so many guilty prosecutors. The irony of our time.

Anonymous said...

So many innocent criminals, so many guilty prosecutors. The irony of our time.


Anonymous said...

Seeing what cards the state has up its sleeve is confronting your accuser.

The state seeing the defense's file is wrong on all sorts of levels.