News 06.12.17

Salt Lake Tribune Calls for Prosecutorial Oversight and Accountability

By Innocence Staff

The Salt Lake Tribune issued an editorial last week calling for oversight and accountability for prosecutors to prevent and punish misconduct.

Prosecutors have boundless power in the judicial system, and yet there are no measures in place to ensure they abide by laws or ethics rules, the editorial points out. They have absolute immunity from liability for the mistakes they make, intentional or otherwise.

The Tribune suggests that updated rules be applied with clear consequences for breaking them and that absolute immunity laws be relaxed. The editorial also called for judges to step in and hold prosecutors engaging in willful misconduct in contempt of court.

Prosecutorial misconduct is among the leading contributors of wrongful convictions, yet prosecutors are rarely held accountable, even in cases of intentional misconduct. One exception is Texas prosecutor Ken Anderson who pled guilty 2013 to criminal contempt for his role in the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton and agreed to serve a 10-day jail sentence. He resigned from his position as a district court judge and permanently surrendered his law license.

Read the Tribune editorial here.

Learn more about prosecutorial misconduct.

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