Prosecutorial Oversight Tour Stops in California


Thursday afternoon at Santa Clara University School of Law marked the fifth stop of the national prosecutorial oversight tour where panelists from all areas of the criminal justice system discussed systemic and legal approaches for reducing prosecutorial error and misconduct. The panel was especially notable, however, as the first in which an elected district attorney accepted an invitation to participate.


District Attorney Jeff Rosen acknowledged the problem of prosecutorial misconduct and spoke of his commitment to root it out by working with groups like the ACLU and the Northern California Innocence Project. Still, he noted the negative connotation of the word “misconduct” and likened it to being called a racist by arguing that prosecutorial error is mostly unintentional and not malicious. Other panelists included retired Judge James Emerson, Northern California Innocence Project Executive Director Kathleen Ridolfi, and Los Angeles exoneree Obie Anthony (whose op-ed against the death penalty was covered here yesterday). According to the San Jose Mercury News, Anthony addressed Rosen in his remarks:

“You shouldn’t view it as being called racist,” Anthony said, “but as notice that someone in your office is committing misconduct. I don’t talk smack about police — you still need police, even though some are corrupt. You still need prosecutors, even though some are corrupt. You just need to be accountable.”

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