Earlier this month, the Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara University Law School released
on more than 700 cases of prosecutorial misconduct in the state. And now, the California State Bar Association is reviewing the records of 130 prosecutors who were identified in the report.
“I welcome the report because it shines a light on an issue we need to address,” said James Towery, a prominent San Jose lawyer recently appointed the bar’s chief trial counsel, to prosecute discipline cases against attorneys.
Over the 13-year period covered in the report, 600 prosecutors committed misconduct ranging from minor technical mistakes to concealing evidence, with 67 of them committing misconduct more than once. Only seven of the 600 prosecutors faced disciplinary actions by the State Bar, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
The California District Attorneys Association said the problem was exaggerated in the report since less than a quarter of the prosecutors examined committed harmful error. According to the report, attorneys are required to report any harmful error judgments against them to the State
Bar and can be disciplined for failing to do so.
The study pushes for reforming the criminal justice system, including providing additional ethics training for
Read Preventable Error
: A Report on Prosecutorial Misconduct in California 1997-2009.