Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Federal judge orders criminal investigation of prosecutors

If the prosecutors from the Harris County District Attorney's Office who were disciplined for a Batson violation think their punishment was severe, they should be thankful that they weren't prosecuting former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

After dismissing the Senator's conviction, U.S. District Judge Emmitt Sullivan ordered a criminal investigation into the prosecutors who withheld Brady material.

I always find it amusing when the law and order set comes to the conclusion that our criminal justice system doesn't always work the way it should.
"Until recently my faith in the criminal justice system, particularly the judicial system, was unwavering. But what some members of the prosecution team did nearly destroyed my faith. Their conduct had consequences for me that they will never realize and can never be reversed." - Sen. Ted Stevens.
Prosecutors failed to disclose to the defense that a key prosecution witness had changed his story. The witness testified that a mutual friend told him not to expect payment for the renovations he made to Sen. Stevens' house. In an earlier, undisclosed meeting with prosecutors, the witness said he didn't recall that conversation -- and he valued his work at less than prosecutors alleged.
"I was sick to my stomach...How could they abandon their responsibilities." -- defense attorney Brendan Sullivan.
It would be naive to believe that what happened in Sen. Stevens' trial was an isolated incident. The prosecutors' conduct is emblematic of a "win at any cost" mentality that affects too many attorneys who argue on behalf of The State.

A prosecutor's job is to see that justice is done, not to build a resume on the lives and reputations of citizens accused of criminal activities.

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