News 06.07.16

New York Times Editorial Calls for Prosecutorial Oversight

By Innocence Staff

The New York Times ran an editorial on Monday suggesting that the federal government begin monitoring prosecutors suspected of and known for misconduct to avoid wrongful convictions.

In light of many recent exonerations involving prosecutorial misconduct, the editorial board wrote that certain prosecutors should be monitored by the Justice Department, which has authorization to do so under a 1994 federal statute barring any “pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement officers” that deprive a person of her or her legal or constitutional rights.

Since the 1963 Supreme Court decision Brady v. Maryland, prosecutors are required to turn over any exculpatory evidence to the defense. The editorial notes that in many districts, prosecutors frequently withhold evidence from the defense in order to secure a conviction.

The editorial cites the case of David Brown in Louisiana, which will go before the Supreme Court this month, as an example of the dire need for prosecutorial oversight. Brown was sentenced to death for the 1999 murder of a prison guard, which he maintains he did not commit. Brown’s lawyers recently discovered evidence that prosecutors withheld testimony from a witness who said two other men—not Brown—committed the murder.

“It is time for a new approach to ending this behavior: federal oversight of prosecutors’ offices that repeatedly ignore defendants’ legal and constitutional rights,” the editorial board wrote.

Read the full editorial here.

Related: Prosecutorial Misconduct and Wrongful Convictions

 

 

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  1. zelma cochran says:

    Agree totally

  2. Angie Lovato says:

    My Son recently took a plea deal awaiting sentencing at end of June they offered him 10yrs to 32yrs for 2nd degree attempted murder case from 2009 the incident was with a felon who worked for my sons dads auto shop they were in an argument over a paycheck they guy lied and accused my sons dad of calling my son to the scene and shots were fired but only hit the car no one was hit with bullets the guy changed his story a couple times sayin at first he didnt know who shot then the cars windows were too dark and only seen a fuzz top hair cut who shot but when they took the vehicles into investigate no weapon was ever found or gun residue or fingerprints the guy later said it could be my son cause on photo line up my sons name was there and he has same name as his dad and that his dads cell phone records he dialed my sons cell phone number before incident then stopped calling after incident no voice and only 3min calls all they have are the numbers and time frame my sons dad took to trial with public defender and lost trial serving 40 yrs since 2010 and too because hes a felon himself and my son was wanted this whole time he was caught in august of 2015 my son has a family 3 little girls a wife his own business, and attends church has not been in trouble but 2x as a juvenile before 2009 no adult criminal record he is the type of guy who would stop and help you if he sees you with a broke down car or a flat tire. its devastating to think my son will go to prison for this guy the DA is just using his dads case from 2009 against my son says cause his dad lost trial he will lose too?? I dont think its fair my sons lawyer is court appointed and agreeing with the DA the accuser is in prison again cause he was involved in a crime spree in 2014 robbing gun shops and homes in 6 different counties of colorado which made it to the news hes serving about 45yrs now. I dont think the DA is being fair on my sons sentence they first offered his dad a deal of 5 to 16 yrs but his dad thought he would win and refused deal and its the same DA for my sons case and they didnt offer my son any low deal he did not hurt anyone there were 3 guys in that car back then they didnt ask them who shot? anybody could of been the shooter? my little grandaughters are very sad that their daddy has to go to jail for along time. the news showed recently 12 people were arrested for child prostitution ring and they are only facing 14yrs? a DUI driver hit an ran a cop and killed her and tried to cover up evidence he is facing 6yrs probation in colorado because he’s actually a good citizen to society?? what kind of crap is that my son is not the guy who goes out with friends looking for trouble he is a family man!! The DA even made mistakes at my sons plea hearing told a whole different story to the judge gave wrong names wrong business names and our lawyer says it happens??? Its so wrong!!!! this is Jefferson county Colorado

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