Friday, March 16, 2012

How to rein in Rogue Prosecutors

According to Nancy Gertner (former judge and present Harvard Law professor) and Barry Scheck (co-director of the Innocense Project), all that is necessary is for the judge to hold a pretrial meeting with the prosecutors and order them to be good. And, absent this meeting, rogue prosecutors cannot themselves be prosecuted.
Apparently "rogue" prosecution is not actually against the law. It only becomes a crime if and when a judge says it is. If the judge fails to call it, anything goes.
Wow. If only life were so simple. Just hold a meeting and the problem goes away. Yeah, Right.
So what is "rogue" prosecution? Two things, failure to give the defense attorney evidence that might let the defendant off. And giving false evidence at trial. Such as the gun or the grass planted on the defendant by cops, or intimidating the defense witnesses.
The way to deal with either kind is simple, hang the prosecutor out to dry. Not meetings or ruling, let's have a little punishment. Say ten years in slam. Repeat as needed, say once a year. Name some names. I notice the furor over the Ted Stevens prosecution, which doubtless prompted this WSJ op-ed, doesn't name any names. That might actually hurt some one's career.
And, no more of this "It's legal til the judge says it ain't" stuff. The law is written down in statute books, and applies all the time. If it isn't written down, it ain't law.

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