In Stevens case, federal prosecutors lied and deceived

In 2008, then-Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska was prosecuted and convicted on charges that he had failed to report free work that a politically connected contractor had performed on his home.

Eight days after his conviction in federal court, Stevens was defeated for re-election.

The late Sen. Ted Stevens, who died in a plane crash in 2010

The late Sen. Ted Stevens, who died in a plane crash in 2010

In early 2009, however, that conviction was overturned at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice, which had discovered serious prosecutorial misconduct by attorneys in its Public Integrity Section.

A new independent investigation of that misconduct has now been released, and it is chilling. It concludes:

“The investigation and prosecution of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens were permeated by the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence which would have independently corroborated Senator Stevens’s defense and his testimony, and seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government’s key witness.”

The details of the report make it even more chilling. Prosecutors were so determined to convict Stevens and get the scalp of a U.S. senator whom they believed corrupt that they point-blank lied to the court, to the defense and even to other members of the Department of Justice. (The report calls the lies “astonishing misstatements.”)

Prosecutors withheld crucial evidence. They allowed their witnesses to offer testimony that they knew to be false. There is also strong evidence that they pushed witnesses to fabricate last-minute testimony needed to close gaping holes in their case.

One of the few silver linings in the case is the fact that Stevens and the Bush administration that prosecuted him belonged to the same party. Had Stevens been a Democrat, this would been portrayed as a politically motivated hit job by the executive branch against a member of the opposite party, which would have created a crisis of an entirely different kind.

That also would have distracted attention from the real issues in the case, which are equally troubling in their own right:

– We need an aggressive, effective Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Justice Department; it is essential in ferreting out government corruption, especially at the state and local level where local prosecutors may be too intimidated or too compromised to take action themselves. However, actions such as these call into question the integrity of the Public Integrity Section. (It is important to stress that once other lawyers in the Justice Department began reviewing the case on appeal, they quickly discovered and reported the misbehavior of their colleagues; the Justice Department itself moved to have the conviction overturned.)

– If the defendant in the case was not a U.S. senator, the longest-serving Republican senator in history, it is questionable whether the facts of the case would ever have come to light. How many lower-profile cases in both federal and state courts are dogged by similar prosecutorial misconduct and are never discovered? When the awesome power of the government is turned against a single citizen, it is critically important that such power be wielded fairly and honestly. It is deeply troubling when such awesome power is abused.

– Despite evidence that “would prove beyond a reasonable doubt (that exculpatory) information was intentionally withheld from the attorneys for Senator Stevens,” the new Stevens report concludes that no criminal proceeding against the rogue prosecutors is possible because the legal barriers against such steps are so high.

Those barriers exist for a reason — prosecutors cannot do their job aggressively without a high degree of legal protection. But if those barriers are so high that they preclude punishment for conscious deception, fabrication and withholding of evidence, they need to be reconsidered.

As it is, prosecutors rarely suffer consequences for abusing the process. (Mike Nifong, the prosecutor in the infamous Duke lacrosse case, was eventually disbarred for his actions in that case, but such steps are rare.)

Consider a case out of Louisiana, in which prosecutors withheld blood evidence and other proof that would have helped to exonerate a murder suspect. Instead, the defendant was convicted and sentenced to death, eventually serving 18 years on Death Row and coming close to execution several times before being granted a new trial.

The truth came to light only after a junior district attorney on the case made a death-bed confession, and even then his confession was withheld for five years. In a new trial, the jury cleared the defendant after 35 minutes of deliberation.

Later, the defendant sued and was awarded $14 million in damages. But last year the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling written by Justice Clarence Thomas, threw that award out on grounds that it violated prosecutorial immunity.

– Jay Bookman

262 comments Add your comment

Blind Justice

March 16th, 2012
9:37 am

Jay says,
Later, the defendant sued and was awarded $14 million in damages. But last year the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling written by Justice Clarence Thomas, threw that award out on grounds that it violated prosecutorial immunity.

What more could you expect from Georgia’s own Clarence Thomas?

Steve - USA (My 2 cents available for $1 via Paypal)

March 16th, 2012
9:38 am

“Who polices the Prosecutors?” – Johnnie Cochran

Nice article…The Public Integrity idea is a good one.

Adam

March 16th, 2012
9:38 am

Lord Help Us

March 16th, 2012
9:38 am

I wonder why someone in Bush’s Justice Dept had it in for Sen. Steven’s?

Adam

March 16th, 2012
9:38 am

Ah crap, not first haha

HDB

March 16th, 2012
9:39 am

…and the question is: How much of this really goes on?? More than we in the public think…….

Talking Head

March 16th, 2012
9:39 am

Robert Lee

March 16th, 2012
9:40 am

Robert Lee

March 16th, 2012
9:40 am

Brosephus™ - Browning America Since 1973

March 16th, 2012
9:40 am

Those barriers exist for a reason — prosecutors cannot do their job aggressively without a high degree of legal protection.

Seems like they wouldn’t need any more protection than law enforcement needs, but I’m no legal scholar. Seems that there should be means to remove corruption from all areas of government without having to go through extreme measures first.

Lord Help Us

March 16th, 2012
9:41 am

‘Relevancy?’

Umm, the report was filed yesterday,…

Robert Lee

March 16th, 2012
9:41 am

That is the question, who in W’s adminsitration had it out for Stevens?

Blind Justice

March 16th, 2012
9:41 am

Maybe Justice Thomas has GEORGIA on his mind!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8IqkRbxcTA

Steve - USA (My 2 cents available for $1 via Paypal)

March 16th, 2012
9:42 am

I meant to say the “effective” Public Integrity. Rats

I realize we already have the Public Integrity Section.

0311/8541/5811/1811

March 16th, 2012
9:42 am

A total abuse of the system.

“Those barriers exist for a reason — prosecutors cannot do their job aggressively without a high degree of legal protection. But if those barriers are so high that they preclude punishment for conscious deception, fabrication and withholding of evidence, they need to be reconsidered.”

However, I disagree with the above statement. Police officers are held to account everyday for the decisions they make in a “split second”.

Prosecutors (and Judges) should also be held to account for decisons they make over months.

Just sayin’

Adam

March 16th, 2012
9:43 am

Hey Jay, how come you aren’t writing about…. Oh wait, I guess you ARE writing about how there is corruption and the victim was a Republican.

But but but… OBAMA!

0311/8541/5811/1811

March 16th, 2012
9:43 am

P.S.

I disagree with “part” of Jay’s statement.

Paul

March 16th, 2012
9:45 am

Those prosecutors violated their oath, their trust and their honor.

Yes, it is time to tweak the barriers that prevent those who lie and misuse their office to further injustice from being held accountable. And to do it in such a way that that Supreme Court ruling does not apply.

O'ByteMe - Fake-Irish Goon

March 16th, 2012
9:45 am

Someone didn’t give Talking Head his talking points about this topic. Chaos! Confusion! Run!

Steve - USA (My 2 cents available for $1 via Paypal)

March 16th, 2012
9:45 am

Adam@9:43

*facepalm*

(ir)Rational

March 16th, 2012
9:45 am

So, I’m going to guess that there are some prosecutors that will no longer have law licenses. Simply because of high profile nature of the person they screwed over. There are way too many protections for the state when they screw up, and screw over a citizen.

Blind Justice – Yeah, it is horrible when the SCOTUS actually reads and follows the law. I wish they would just go up there and vote with their feelings and change the laws as they see fit. Wait, then we would have people calling them activist judges and decrying them for their evil ways.

Jm

March 16th, 2012
9:46 am

Small government = good government

When the government gets a blank check, they do all kinds of misdeeds

Jay is blind to the Obama administration misdeeds and they are numerous

Adam

March 16th, 2012
9:46 am

O’ByteMe: Yep. Nothing says “irrelevant” to some people like “but it wasn’t on the morning radio talk shows/Drudge Report/Hannity/wherever-else-I-go-to-get-my-talking-points”

Lord Help Us

March 16th, 2012
9:47 am

If Nifong can be disbarred in the Duke LaCrosse case, I do not see where the barrier is too high (perhaps not equivalent to the offense, but at least some repercussion). Perhaps it is only selectively prosecuted.

O'ByteMe - Fake-Irish Goon

March 16th, 2012
9:47 am

I agree with Mr. Multiple Zip Codes, above. If police can be held accountable for a split-second life-or-death decision, prosecutors and judges should also be held accountable for decisions that require more than a few seconds and have lots of time to be corrected.

Adam

March 16th, 2012
9:47 am

Steve – USA: Come on, you see it here every day. Don’t pretend ;)

Lee Weber

March 16th, 2012
9:47 am

Jay, two great columns in one week. You’re on fire.

Calls to mind Former Secretary of Labor Raymond Donovan’s line after he was found not guilty of corruption charges…”Which office do I go to get my reputation back?” Working for the goverment shouldn’t bring any special protection from misconduct. Yet another case of the government treating its employees one way and the rest of us another. Disgraceful.

I’d hope that the relevant bar associations would move to disbar these attorneys, but I’m not holding my breath. Lawyers do as bad a job of policing their own as the goverment does.

O'ByteMe - Fake-Irish Goon

March 16th, 2012
9:48 am

Small government = good government

Wrong.

good government = good government

QED :)

Steve - USA (My 2 cents available for $1 via Paypal)

March 16th, 2012
9:48 am

Yeah so we don’t need you adding to it! ;)

Jm

March 16th, 2012
9:48 am

Clarence Thomas is a fine justice

Throw your vitriol elsewhere liberals

(ir)Rational

March 16th, 2012
9:48 am

Lord Help Us – I don’t know, how many lawyers have you met that are qualified to do anything besides law? You disbar a lawyer and you’ve taken away their ability to work and earn money to feed their families. Seems like a pretty drastic punishment to me.

Butch Cassidy

March 16th, 2012
9:49 am

O’ByteMe – “Someone didn’t give Talking Head his talking points about this topic.”

Unfortunately if it’s not a topic covered by Boortz or Limbaugh, the party faithful just kind of shut down like “Walkers” without fresh meat. :)

Adam

March 16th, 2012
9:49 am

O’ByteMe: If police can be held accountable for a split-second life-or-death decision, prosecutors and judges should also be held accountable for decisions that require more than a few seconds and have lots of time to be corrected.

While I agree prosecutors and judges should be held to account for abusive behavior such as this, I do not necessarily think that is BECAUSE we also scrutinize police officers. I think it’s because we need to have REAL justice, not rigged justice.

Jm

March 16th, 2012
9:49 am

Obyteme

Go drink some beer

Paul

March 16th, 2012
9:49 am

Scout

“However, I disagree with the above statement. Police officers are held to account everyday for the decisions they make in a “split second”.

Prosecutors (and Judges) should also be held to account for decisons they make over months”

Nice to see you recognize those in positions of power and privilege can rig the system to make it benefit themselves and hold the common person to a disadvantage.

Golly gee, I wonder if that happens in other areas of society?

____________________________________________

Regarding who in the Bush Administration had it in for Sen Stevens: I’ll guess Stevens was just a target of convenience. It was more about ego and pumping up their own resumes than a personal vendetta.

Rather like what we see with Special Prosecutors.

Brosephus™ - Browning America Since 1973

March 16th, 2012
9:50 am

Small Effective government = good government”

Small doesn’t equate to good in all cases. I’d prefer effective and functional government over small any day of the week.

Lord Help Us

March 16th, 2012
9:50 am

‘You disbar a lawyer and you’ve taken away their ability to work and earn money to feed their families. Seems like a pretty drastic punishment to me.’

Deliberate abuse of your power prosecuting someone should get you some pillow biting time…

Talking Head

March 16th, 2012
9:51 am

“Small government = good government

When the government gets a blank check, they do all kinds of misdeeds

Jay is blind to the Obama administration misdeeds and they are numerous”

Example of relevancy.

Not this ‘piece’ (not sure what it is) which will no doubt spew conspiracy theories, Bush Administration bashing, and Clarence Thomas slandering.

Steve - USA (My 2 cents available for $1 via Paypal)

March 16th, 2012
9:51 am

“Clarence Thomas is a fine justice

Throw your vitriol elsewhere liberals”

Jay wrote a good article but it wasn’t against the Republicans so the usual suspects had to find someone to make childish comments about.

O'ByteMe - Fake-Irish Goon

March 16th, 2012
9:51 am

I’d hope that the relevant bar associations would move to disbar these attorneys, but I’m not holding my breath.

It does happen. It just seems to take a lonnnnng time:

http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2012/03/former-dc-federal-prosecutor-disbarred-for-egregious-conduct.html

Blind Justice

March 16th, 2012
9:51 am

Jm@9:48 you might want to rethink those thoughts…

Clarence Thomas Should Be Investigated For Nondisclosure, Democratic Lawmakers Say

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/29/democratic-lawmakers-call-for-investiation-into-clarence-thomas-finances_n_987934.html

(ir)Rational

March 16th, 2012
9:51 am

I don’t know Bro, I’ve heard that size *does* matter. ;)

ty webb

March 16th, 2012
9:51 am

“Mike Nifong” would make a good Porn name.

JohnnyReb

March 16th, 2012
9:52 am

A popular T-Shirt when the Soviet Union fell depicted Paul Revere riding horse back through Red Square yelling – The Lawyers are coming, the Lawyers are coming!

A popular perception of the Steven’s case is that it was driven by Democrats in Justice, either in Alaska or Washington, who were also after Sarah Palin at the time.

O'ByteMe - Fake-Irish Goon

March 16th, 2012
9:52 am

I do not necessarily think that is BECAUSE we also scrutinize police officers.

I don’t think it’s a direct correlation, more of an observation that if we can do one, we certainly should do the other.

Adam

March 16th, 2012
9:52 am

(ir)Rational: Prosecutors that abuse the system in the fashion described above deserve to be fired and never allowed back. Similarly, if you are part of the team that advocated for the Iraq War under false pretenses of WMD, then you should not be allowed to be part of a foreign policy team ever again.

The prosecutors who abused the system could easily become con men to make a living if they felt like it.

Adam

March 16th, 2012
9:53 am

Or, instead of illegal con men, they could become legal con men: Wall Street Bankers. :D

Brosephus™ - Browning America Since 1973

March 16th, 2012
9:53 am

You disbar a lawyer and you’ve taken away their ability to work and earn money to feed their families.

I disagree. If you disbar a lawyer, you’ve removed someone who doesn’t need to be a lawyer in the first place. That person has not lost their ability to work and earn money. They just can’t do that by working as a lawyer. They can always do something else. When you ruin somebody’s life and reputation by doing as those prosecutors did, you don’t deserve to practice law anymore. How is the person who’s life has been ruined going to get their life back together?

(ir)Rational

March 16th, 2012
9:53 am

Blind Justice – Yeah, big surprise that Democratic lawmakers don’t like him. He wasn’t appointed by one of their presidents, and he was approved by the Senate over their objections. But back to what I said to you earlier, would you rather the SCOTUS didn’t follow the laws, and instead made their own?

Brosephus™ - Browning America Since 1973

March 16th, 2012
9:55 am

I see it didn’t take long to deflect and blame Democrats for this. Some things never change.

Adam

March 16th, 2012
9:56 am

Talking Head’s 9:51a is a perfect example of what I’m talking about Steve – USA.

First, the topic is not relevant because it has been deemed by Talking Head to be anti-Bush somehow. Then, what IS relevant is anything about Obama’s misdeeds.

Keep pulling the “But but but Obama” card, folks!

O'ByteMe - Fake-Irish Goon

March 16th, 2012
9:56 am

Some things never change.

Nah, some people don’t know how to change.

Keep Up--Te gusta losing woofinpoofs?

March 16th, 2012
9:56 am

The claim that police officers are “held” to some high standard is almost laughable in light of reality. In practice, all too often police and prosecutors are in a position to abuse the public trust. Both need to be held to higher standards. But why the hue and cry goes out, let’s remember that many of our posters whine about rights of appeals and reviews of sentences and they deny funds that would help those who have suffered the abuse.

(ir)Rational

March 16th, 2012
9:57 am

Adam – That’s true, most lawyers would make good con men/criminals. So Hilary Clinton shouldn’t be Secretary of State?

Bro – I prefaced that by saying that most lawyers I’ve met aren’t qualified to do anything else. As Adam pointed out, I should have pointed out that they typically aren’t qualified to do anything that isn’t illegal. I’m not saying it is fair, I’m just saying it is a punishment. I would be pretty upset if someone took away my right to do my profession. Then again, I’m fairly handy and could probably (easily) find something else to do.

Adam

March 16th, 2012
9:59 am

(ir)Rational: So Hilary Clinton shouldn’t be Secretary of State?

Depends. Did she abuse her power?

Blind Justice

March 16th, 2012
9:59 am

(i)Rational says….
Blind Justice – Yeah, big surprise that Democratic lawmakers don’t like him. He wasn’t appointed by one of their presidents, and he was approved by the Senate over their objections.

….but putting the party issue aside…if WE did this as private citizens, do you think that the IRS would come after US? It does not matter if you are a Democratic or Republican WE ‘as citizens’ do not make the LAWS. We are only expected to abide by them.

(ir)Rational

March 16th, 2012
9:59 am

Bro – If your “blaming Democrats” was directed at me, I was simply talking about Justice Thomas in response to Blind Justice seemingly thinking he should be run out of town.

Don't Forget

March 16th, 2012
10:00 am

When you consider the fact that many prosecutors are elected or have political aspirations, those high barriers allow the creation of a nightmare scenario of government abuse.

Steve - USA (My 2 cents available for $1 via Paypal)

March 16th, 2012
10:01 am

“I see it didn’t take long to deflect and blame Democrats for this. Some things never change.”

Actually the deflection was in the first post bashing a Conservative Supreme Court Justice.

Once again both sides have taken an excellent article and have taken it into the gutter and at the same time they pat themselves on the back for taking the high road.

Joe Hussein Mama

March 16th, 2012
10:01 am

(ir)Rationa — “You disbar a lawyer and you’ve taken away their ability to work and earn money to feed their families. Seems like a pretty drastic punishment to me.”

Too bad.

If you take away a trucker’s CDL because he’s got a raging substance abuse problem and he got into a huge, flaming pileup on 285 during rush hour, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to get much traction with the ‘but he needs to support his family’ defense. Sure, everyone’s got a right to support their family, but you don’t have an automatic right to work in a field that requires professional certification or licensure, PARTICULARLY if you demonstrate that you’re not a good custodian of that certification or licensure.

Mr. Disbarred Attorney can go get himself a job as a night clerk over at the Super 8, IMO.

(ir)Rational

March 16th, 2012
10:02 am

Adam – “Similarly, if you are part of the team that advocated for the Iraq War under false pretenses of WMD, then you should not be allowed to be part of a foreign policy team ever again.” She made the argument in the Senate, so I’m simply basing it off your logic.

Blind Justice – If only one party wants to prosecute him, it is about politics. And it isn’t on IRS withholding documents, it is on SCOTUS disclosure forms about his wife’s income. But hey, you think what you want to think, and ignore the pertinent questions that I’ve asked you twice now to get your dig in about Justice Thomas.

Brosephus™ - Browning America Since 1973

March 16th, 2012
10:02 am

O’ByteMe

I don’t think it’s because they don’t know how to. I think it’s more because they don’t WANT to change. They probably suffer from an undiagnosed case of metathesiophobia or something.

Adam

March 16th, 2012
10:03 am

JHM@10:01a, well said.

Steve - USA (My 2 cents available for $1 via Paypal)

March 16th, 2012
10:05 am

JHM@10:01

I second Adam, that was well said.

barking frog

March 16th, 2012
10:05 am

Police officers can lie to suspects
then Prosecutors can lie about
defendants.

Brosephus™ - Browning America Since 1973

March 16th, 2012
10:05 am

(ir)Rational

Lawyers: If they don’t know how to do anything else, who’s fault is that? You should never go through life without a backup plan just in case things don’t work out as you originally planned. I don’t give people a break for not planning for emergencies or other issues.

Dem blaming: Wasn’t anything you said. If you read the comments on the first page, it should be obvious which post I was referring to.

————————–

The claim that police officers are “held” to some high standard is almost laughable in light of reality.

Sell that to my co-workers…

(ir)Rational

March 16th, 2012
10:06 am

JHM – Did you even bother reading the original post? I was merely responding when someone said that prosecutors weren’t punished for their actions. Not saying it was wrong in anyway that a lawyer could be disbarred.

Jefferson

March 16th, 2012
10:06 am

Cops have the best drugs
— Jefferson

Blind Justice

March 16th, 2012
10:06 am

I’ve asked you twice now to get your dig in about Justice Thomas.

??

(ir)Rational

March 16th, 2012
10:08 am

Bro – I don’t care about lawyers (well, I do care about one future lawyer, but that’s because I plan on being kept when she graduates), and whether they have a back-up plan or not. I was just saying that disbarring a lawyer is punishing him.

Brosephus™ - Browning America Since 1973

March 16th, 2012
10:08 am

Actually the deflection was in the first post bashing a Conservative Supreme Court Justice.

If you’re referring to Thomas, ummm, I guess you didn’t see his relevancy in Jay’s piece.

Later, the defendant sued and was awarded $14 million in damages. But last year the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling written by Justice Clarence Thomas, threw that award out on grounds that it violated prosecutorial immunity.

Justice Thomas is quite relevant to the story. Saying that Democrats in the Justice Dept were targeting Stevens can not be proven. Therefore, it is nothing but an attempt to deflect blame to Democrats.

ragnar danneskjold

March 16th, 2012
10:08 am

Agree with most of the presentation here – prosecutors who withhold evidence should be fired. Wrongfully convictions should be recognized and corrected.

The gratuitous hit on the Supreme Court ruling properly upholding “prosecutorial immunity” is the only portion of the essay that is not meritorious, and I assume it is merely a partisan jab in an otherwise pretty well written piece. For some reason leftists cannot abide black or female conservatives, even when – as here – they lead a majority. Don’t know why leftists do not believe the legislature should not be the body responsible for compensating government wrongs, assume that is the general leftist sop for attorneys.

Pleased to see you acknowledge the wrongful conviction of Ted Stevens. I was not a fan of him – big spender – and he may even have been guilty of the charges, but the trial was corrupt in every respect.

Judges and prosecutors should not be allowed to hold such a position longer than 10 years. That is when the sense of “entitlement” sets in.

(ir)Rational

March 16th, 2012
10:10 am

Blind Justice – I asked you twice (now three times) if you would rather the SCOTUS ignore current law and instead make their own. Something you chose to ignore twice to get your dig in about Justice Thomas. If you used the entire sentence instead of just part of it, it wouldn’t seem very hard to understand.

ty webb

March 16th, 2012
10:12 am

Actually, the first “blamer” comment was directed at a Conservative.

ragnar danneskjold

March 16th, 2012
10:13 am

Maybe I have not suggested my plan for tort litigation reform on this blog – model after the worker’s compensation program that has brought order out of chaos. Publish a schedule of payments deemed appropriate – thus removing the lottery wheel aspect of litigation – and put most cases in arbitration hearings before subject matter experts. Of course, that would require substantial action by a legislative body, and we know what happens when substance is proposed (e.g., the Paul Ryan blueprint for socsec and medicare solvency.)

Joe Hussein Mama

March 16th, 2012
10:13 am

(ir)Rational — “JHM – Did you even bother reading the original post? I was merely responding when someone said that prosecutors weren’t punished for their actions. Not saying it was wrong in anyway that a lawyer could be disbarred.”

I did read it, but respectfully, professional licensure carries with it a high standard of conduct, and bear in mind that the group doing the licensure itself is who determines whether you can be in their club or not. It’s not like the court can say, ‘okay, I’m disbarring you.” IIRC, it’s the Bar Association that’s saying ‘you make us look bad, so take a hike.’

That’s a completely different penalty from whatever the court imposes, isn’t it?

Adam

March 16th, 2012
10:14 am

(ir)Rational: She is NOW part of the foreign policy team, but she wasn’t before. She was a Senator being fed bad intel. The people who knew the intel was bad are the ones I am talking about.

barking frog

March 16th, 2012
10:14 am

One of my ex-attorneys was
the focus of a GBI sting, was
convicted, disbarred and spent
4 years in prison. He then went
to work as an insurance
adjuster and did well for the
rest of his life.

Moderate Line

March 16th, 2012
10:14 am

These cases are why the right is so leery of an expanded government. The government has almost unlimited resources to go after individuals. It is not uncommon for people in such occupations to be more focused on victory and glamour than the real goal of justice. In our system people are suppose to be given the benefit of the doubt but in many cases the prosecution jumps to conclusion.

At least the Department of Justice had the integrity to admit the miscarriage of justice. What is interesting the real crime was commented by the prosecution and he is untouchable.

Steve - USA (My 2 cents available for $1 via Paypal)

March 16th, 2012
10:15 am

“If you’re referring to Thomas, ummm, I guess you didn’t see his relevancy in Jay’s piece.

Later, the defendant sued and was awarded $14 million in damages. But last year the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling written by Justice Clarence Thomas, threw that award out on grounds that it violated prosecutorial immunity.”

Ummmm… I didn’t see anywhere in Jay’s article saying the SCOTUS ruling was wrong. Why don’t you explain to me how the Supreme Court decision was wrong and didn’t follow the law and Clarence Thomas should be criticized for it.

ty webb

March 16th, 2012
10:15 am

addendum to my 10:12: “some things never change”

Brosephus™ - Browning America Since 1973

March 16th, 2012
10:16 am

I was just saying that disbarring a lawyer is punishing him.

Anybody who is caught violating the law is punished in some form or fashion. If I got stupid and decided to smuggle aliens into this country, I’d lose my job, whatever clearances and certifications I have, and my ability to work for the government (law enforcement). Why should a lawyer who intentionally violate the law not be subject to the same punishment?

Keep Up--Te gusta losing woofinpoofs?

March 16th, 2012
10:16 am

Lawyers are disbarred and sanctioned on a regular basis by the State Bar of Georgia.

Bro, I understand that there is a lot of tension. Its a tough balance but when there are pepper spraying indicidents and clear abuses (beatings, no knock killings) and many other cases too many for use to review, and a lack of real action, many communities have different perceptions. I know you understand DWB complaints. It’s a tough balance for all and prosecutors are subject to some of the same point/counterpoint issues as law enforcement. Its a tough line to walk because there will always be abusive claims against officers/prosecutors many unfounded but there will also be some very valid claims that never see the light of day.

Brosephus™ - Browning America Since 1973

March 16th, 2012
10:18 am

ty: Actually, the first “blamer” comment was directed at a Conservative.

Which one??

(ir)Rational

March 16th, 2012
10:18 am

JHM – I’m completely aware of the standards and responsibilities that come from having a professional license. But I still make the argument that disbarring lawyers is punishing them. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a fair, or adequate punishment for ruining someone’s life, but I’m not sure what would be. I’m simply (still) stating that I would rather the courts follow current law, and leave legislation up to the legislature.

Blind Justice

March 16th, 2012
10:18 am

(i)Rational says,

Thomas. If you used the entire sentence instead of just part of it, it wouldn’t seem very hard to understand.

First let me say that I can speak for myself. I did not use the entire sentence because I was not sure what you meant by “get your dig in”. The Supreme Court of the United States is supposed to be the highest court of the land. The Justices are appointed and held to very” high standards”. If there are any questions as far as to them not adhering to the laws that ALL citizens must abide by, then it could NEVER be right! Is that clear enough for you?

Finn McCool (Class Warfare === Stopping Rich People from TAKING MORE of OUR MONEY)

March 16th, 2012
10:18 am

Clarence, For The Win!!

HDB

March 16th, 2012
10:19 am

Brocephus..or anyone else…

Can someone explain to me the conservative’s LOVE of Clarence Thomas…the LEAST QUALIFIED Justice on the Supreme Court?? The ABA had Thomas rated as “qualified”…whereas every confirmed Supreme Court Justice had a ratign of “HIGHLY qualified”? Doesn’t this disprove the “meritocracy” that conservatives persist to exist??? Thomas’ decisions…plus his refusal to recuse himself because of his wife’s influence in the Tea Party speaks volumes!!!

Don't Forget

March 16th, 2012
10:19 am

If prosecutorial immunity allows willful misconduct then the barriers are too high. I can’t think of any reason why ALL evidence collected should not be open to disclosure and available to the defense. How can there be justice if evidence is suppressed?

(ir)Rational

March 16th, 2012
10:20 am

Bro – Isn’t disbarring a lawyer basically doing that? Or have I missed something somewhere?

Adam – Sorry, but going from your quote, she shouldn’t be Secretary of State. I both agree and disagree with that sentiment. She is a great Secretary of State, but I would rather she were president.

ty webb

March 16th, 2012
10:21 am

Brosephus,
the first one.

ragnar danneskjold

March 16th, 2012
10:22 am

Dear Moderate Line @ 10:14, query raised by your sharp observation: “At least the Department of Justice had the integrity to admit the miscarriage of justice. What is interesting the real crime was commented by the prosecution and he is untouchable.”

What is the likelihood that this is merely another Obama apology tour? Would the Obama administration apologize for such an erroneous prosecution on its own watch, or is it likely that the corrective-wheels were turning while the Bush administration was still running things? One thinks in terms of the Holder abortion of the Philadelphia election-intimidation prosecutions.

Brosephus™ - Browning America Since 1973

March 16th, 2012
10:24 am

Keep Up

How many encounters with police happen daily? How many end up in pepper spray being used? Oversensationalism of incidents leads one to give the entire profession a bad name. You don’t really understand the tension.

Regardless to what I do, my life is dictated by my job. Post a less than flattering photo on Facebook, and you’re fired. Make a heated comment that can be interpreted as something negative, and you’re fired. Add the fact that people get that, “I pay your salary, so I can tell you whatever in the hell I want to” type attitude when you’re simply trying to do the job you’re paid to do, and you’ll begin to understand the tension. Anything that can be perceived to invalidate my appearance of impartiality and/or integrity is an automatic job killer with extreme prejudice.

Jay

March 16th, 2012
10:24 am

“These cases are why the right is so leery of an expanded government. The government has almost unlimited resources to go after individuals.

I have to disagree with you, Moderate. Conservatives in both the judicial and legislative branches tend to want to strengthen the hand of prosecutors, i.e, the government. Here in Georgia, they oppose adequate funding of public defenders, including those handling death-penalty cases. They are generally not at all sympathetic to the defendant whose liberty, property and even life are threatened by government, and instead their sympathies lie heavily with government against that individual.

ragnar danneskjold

March 16th, 2012
10:25 am

Dear HDB @ 10:19, Good morning. “Can someone explain to me the conservative’s LOVE of Clarence Thomas…the LEAST QUALIFIED Justice on the Supreme Court??” Yes, answered within your spew – the charge is false. Please direct me to a poorly argued opinion. I find his opinions the most lucid on the court, better even than those of the brilliant Scalia. (And seriously, how can you affirm that the “wise Latina” is smarter than a dust mop?)

Adam

March 16th, 2012
10:25 am

I don’t think prosecutoral immunity can be defined so completely as to say that awarding someone money in damages for years of being thrown in jail due to DELIBERATE withholding of evidence is a violation of it. But that is just me. Clarence Thomas disagrees. The criticism is: Clarence Thomas thinks preventing awarding damages are part of the immunity for prosecutors.

(ir)Rational

March 16th, 2012
10:26 am

Blind Justice – So now you’ve refused to answer/ignored a pertinent question, stemming from your first post on this topic, three times now. You started off the day by implying that we should expect bad decisions from Justice Thomas – you took a dig at him. Then you imply that someone should reconsider their feelings about him because the Democrats want to investigate him for an over site on disclosure forms, that you’re now claiming were IRS documents that everyone is required to abide by. Now, maybe I’m not the smartest person here, but it seems to me that you just don’t like Justice Thomas and feel that he should be castigated simply because he wrote the majority opinion on a ruling. Wait, what was that last part, the MAJORITY opinion. But I’ll ask you once again, would you rather he didn’t follow the law, and instead attempted to legislate from the bench?

Adam

March 16th, 2012
10:27 am

What is the likelihood that this is merely another Obama apology tour?

“But but but Obama!” card!

ragnar danneskjold

March 16th, 2012
10:27 am

Dear Jay @ 10:24, if you would wish to propose elimination of 90% of our criminal laws, I will join that movement. I note that you and Kyle both propose even another layer of ethics constraints, as if the bribery laws are not enough.

carlosgvv

March 16th, 2012
10:28 am

“the legal barriers against such steps are so high”

A good investigative reporter would spend time determining who instgated these “high steps”.
When an average citizens lies in court and gets caught, they are charged with perjury. How and why did prosecutors get a free pass on this and why aren’t our politicians raising at least as high an outcry as they did when complaining that the Govt., by requiring insurers to cover birth-control pills, were violating religious freedom.