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Posts Tagged ‘prosecutorial misconduct’

What all my criminal defense attorney pals long believed to be true got some supportive press this week along with some empirical backing. Defense lawyers know the criminal system is broken largely because of prosecutorial misconduct and the failure of some courts to act as “the guardian of our constitutional rights.”

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4f/M2500_washed_sand_on_conveyor_%286238147930%29.jpg/320px-M2500_washed_sand_on_conveyor_%286238147930%29.jpgIndeed, as one of those defense lawyer friends who’s also a scholar writes, “Prosecutorial misconduct has infected every stage of the criminal process ranging from the initial charging decision through post-conviction proceedings.”

Moreover, in the words of a dissenting jurist, criminal defendants, especially the indigent, are treated like just another fungible item to be shuffled along on a criminal-justice conveyor belt.”

Several days ago, Nina Morrison, a senior staff attorney at the Innocence Project in New York, wrote a scathing op-ed in The New York Times, What Happens When Prosecutors Break the Law?”

https://cdn.morguefile.com/imageData/public/files/c/click/preview/fldr_2008_11_08/file000521358819.jpg“All too often,” she wrote, the justice system“falls silent when the culprit is a prosecutor, and the victim is an ordinary citizen accused of a crime.”

Relying on a recent case to make the point that misconduct by prosecutors too often goes unpunished, she discusses what happened when Suffolk County, NY homicide prosecutor Glenn Kurtzrock was caught violating Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). This is the U.S. Supreme Court decision that requires prosecutors to turn over any materially exculpatory evidence in the government’s possession to defendants. Well, Kurtzrock was caught withholding exculpatory evidence in violation of Brady in multiple cases.

“So what happened to Mr. Kurtzrock?” Morrison asked.

Nothing.

Thirteen months after his public firing, and five murder cases overturned because of his illegal actions, Mr. Kurtzrock hasn’t been charged with a single crime. Not fraud, not tampering with government records, not contempt of court.

And he hasn’t even been suspended from practicing law, much less disbarred. He’s now working as a defense lawyer in private practice. That’s right: he’s making a living representing people accused of crimes, in the same courthouse from which he was (supposedly) banished a year ago. His law firm website even touts his experience as a “former homicide prosecutor.”

The law also makes it virtually impossible for Mr. Kurtzrock’s victims to sue him, with the Supreme Court having declared that individual prosecutors and their offices are “immune” from civil rights lawsuits in all but the rarest of cases.

Nina Morrison’s commentary should be widely read.

Verifiable support.

Empirically speaking, the current Houston Law Review as usefully summarized by the website, The Open File, at TX: In Harris County Capital Cases, Prosecutors Get to Be the Judges,” discusses what they call a “thorough and definitive” essay, “The Problem of ‘Rubber-Stamping’ in State Capital Habeas Proceedings: A Harris County Case Study,” by Jordan Steiker, James Marcus, and Thea Posel.

It’s about “how Harris County criminal court judges act as little more than feckless vessels, used by prosecutors to sign off on whatever version of events the local prosecutors believe will be most helpful to their litigation interests.”

The researchers examined 199 Harris County capital post-conviction cases since 1995 to find that

Harris County post-conviction prosecutors have authored and proposed 21,275 separate findings of fact and conclusions of law and the Harris County courts have adopted 20,261 of the prosecutors’ proposed findings verbatim: an adoption rate of 95%. In fact, judges in Harris County have adopted all of the prosecutors’ findings verbatim in 183 out of 191 sets of findings, or 96%. In the vast majority (167) of those cases, the judges simply signed the state’s proposed document without changing the heading.

[The lawyers, policy advocates, law professors and students at The Open File were galvanized to write about prosecutorial misconduct and system failure by the 2011 U.S. Supreme Court case, Connick v. Thompson, a decision that also raised my hackles here.]

But what’s most concerning about the Harris County case study is what The Open File author opined, “More studies like this one ought to be undertaken to uncover these practices in other parts of the nation. It would not surprise us if the percentages of rubber-stamped recommendations in many death penalty jurisdictions rival the Harris County findings.”

And summing up, he declared, “Prosecutors do not need any more power than they already possess. Letting them act simultaneously as judge and prosecutor makes a mockery of due process and our criminal courts.”

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Credits: “washed sand on conveyor,” by Peter Cravens, Wikimedia Commons, creative commons attribution generic license; “justice,” morguefile.com.

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I had bats on my mind yesterday. First there was the report Thursday about bats causing pandemonium sending people screaming from an Arkansas courtroom. I’ve been in really old courthouses and know that rodents live there but this was a first concerning bats. Bats in the belfry Then also last night, I read not about bats but brickbats thrown by the Ninth Circuit over another case of prosecutorial malfeasance. Railing as I have over time, about the persistence of prosecutorial misconduct, for instance, here, here, here, here, here and here, all those posts have started to seem “like the [impotent] vaporings of the fellow with a large flock of bats in his belfry.”

 

Prosecutor punishment rare.

So here I am back in the same belfry. The problem is that state judges rarely punish the misconduct by at the very least, referring the wrongdoing prosecutors to state disciplinary authorities or at best, by sanctioning the transgressors by reversing the convictions. Furthermore, state bars hardly ever bring disciplinary complaints on their own against prosecutors. Consequently, state supreme courts almost never disbar prosecutors for dereliction, lying, or for failing to disclose evidence to the defense that deprives defendants of a fair trial. Baca v Adams. Courtroom 93The Los Angeles Times’ always insightful Legal Affairs Reporter reported last night about a January 8, 2015 Ninth Circuit hearing and the stern admonishment from the 3-judge panel about prosecutorial lying and the heedlessness of watchdogs in bringing misconduct to heel. See “U.S. Judges see ‘epidemic’ of prosecutorial misconduct in state.” Citing Napue v. Illinois, 360 US 264 (1959), which held that “the failure of the prosecutor to correct the testimony of the witness which he knew to be false denied petitioner due process of law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, the three judges were not amused in the unheralded case of Johnny Baca v Derral Adams, which was the subject of the hearing. Per Napue, prosecutors cannot suborn perjury — or lie as happened in the Baca case. 1152762_left_hand_silhouette-_womanAnd questioning why bad things don’t happen to people doing bad Judge Alex Kozinski declared, “You know it’s a little disconcerting when the state puts on evidence, the evidence turns out to be fabricated and nothing happens to the lawyer and nothing happens to the witness. So I have to doubt the sincerity of the State when it says it was a big mistake.” It was hardly a surprise, then, that given the findings of the state appeals court that the prosecutor lied and their own readings of the Baca file, that the judges wanted the State to back off. Judge Kozinski additionally noted that though the state appellate court found the prosecutor lied — since no discipline had been meted, then he opined that prosecutors “got caught this time but they are going to keep doing it because they have state judges who are willing to look the other way.” Watch the videotaped hearing below at about the 28:30 minute mark for equally biting criticisms, including Judge Kozinski questioning the absence of any inquiry or discipline by the state attorney general into the misconduct.

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/36/Kamala_Harris_Official_Attorney_General_Photo.jpg/160px-Kamala_Harris_Official_Attorney_General_Photo.jpg

Calif Attorney General Kamala Harris

However, given the keen political shrewdness of California State Attorney General Kamala Harris who now aspires to succeed Barbara Boxer in the US Senate, she spared her office further embarrassment by timely accommodating the strong judicial intimations to stand down. Last Thursday when the bats were flying in De Queen, Arkansas, she and the new Riverside County D.A. filed the following motion: As for myself, unlike one optimistic commentator, who opined after the hearing, “Prosecutors who suborn perjury may finally have to pay the piper,” here in my belfry, I’m still skeptical.

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Photo Credits: New Bat, by Windell Oskay at Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License; Bat in Belfry at The Phrase Finder http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/bats-in-the-belfry.html; Round Rock, TX: Mexican Free-Tailed Bats by Roy Niswanger at Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License; Kamala Harris, by http://oag.ca.gov/about, official photo, California State Attorney General, Wikipedia Commons, public domain; kdjfdkjdkl.jpg by greyerbaby at morguefile.com license .

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Turns out former prosecutor and ex-judge Ken Anderson only ended up serving a mere 5 days of a 10-day sentence for contempt of court in connection with the wrongful prosecution of an innocent man, Michael Morton. As though a 10-day sentence for tampering with evidence; helping hide exculpatory evidence; and engaging in prosecutorial misconduct was too much.

According to a spokesman for the Williamson County, Texas sheriff’s office, his term was reduced for good behavior.  See “How Ken Anderson was released after only five days in jail.”

So thanks to my calculator mastery, I can now amend my report that The time served by the former jurist actually amounted to just 0.0547% of the almost 9,125 days Morton spent in prison. Or as Heraclitus once wrote, “If it were not for injustice, men would not know justice.”

Soft sentence spin.

Still, I wonder if University of Cincinnati law professor and Ohio Innocence Project Director Mark Godsey is as triumphantly satisfied as he was when he spun the soft sentence and wrote “a prosecutor was actually punished in a meaningful way for his transgressions.” I guess it depends on how you define “meaningful.”

But at least Judge Anderson still has 500 hours of community service and a $500 fine. See “For the First Time Ever, a Prosecutor Will Go to Jail for Wrongfully convicting an innocent man.”

However, take heart that because you’re not supposed to mess with Texas, be happy that notwithstanding Judge Anderson’s light punishment for ruining another man’s life — that at least Texas has tough penalties for serious littering. Under Penal Code § 12.35, serious littering can get you not more than 2 years or less than 180 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Meanwhile back with the javelinas.

And back on the prosecutorial ranch in Arizona — where the javelinas and prosecutors roam, as previously reported, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery had opposed changes to the ethical rules governing post-conviction prosecutorial obligations. Along with other prosecutors, he believed there’s “no convincing evidence that Arizona has a ‘problem’ of wrongful convictions” or that “prosecutors have failed to take corrective action when appropriate.” 

Grunting and squealing aside — the rule was amended and becomes effective in Arizona on January 1, 2014. See “Ariz. prosecutors must now reveal evidence of convicts’ innocence” and http://www.azcourts.gov/Portals/20/2013%20Rules%20Nov/R110033.pdf

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Photo Credits:”I woke up looking this good,” by Evil Erin at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution;”Don’t Mess with Texas,” by Jamie at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution;”javelinas,” by U.S. Fish and Wildlife… at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution.

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People 7109

Caginess or coincidence? No matter. It’s all good.

Four years after the ABA made changes to its Professional Conduct Model Rule concerning the “Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor” and eighteen days after the “Arizona Republic” ran its multi-part series on prosecutorial misconductand following much protracted consideration, the Arizona Supreme Court finally amended Rule 42, ER 3.8 that identifies prosecutors’ post-conviction obligations when they know of new evidence establishing a reasonable likelihood a convicted defendant was innocent of the offense and addressing those circumstances when a prosecutor has a disclosure obligation and a duty to investigate and to take remedial steps to rectify the conviction.

The state’s highest court also enacted a new rule, ER 3.10, “Credible and Material Exculpatory Information about a Convicted Person.” The new rule follows the same principles underpinning the rule for prosecutors and imposes responsibility on all Arizona lawyers who credibly know of exculpatory evidence to promptly disclose that “credible and material evidence that a convicted defendant did not commit an offense of which the defendant was convicted.” 

LAW AND JUSTICE 133The Comment to ER 3.10 explains: “Rectifying the conviction and preventing the incarceration of an innocent person are core values of the judicial system and matters of vital concern to the legal profession. Because of the importance of these principles, this Rule applies to all members of the Bar except prosecutors, whose special duties with respect to disclosure of new, credible and material exculpatory evidence after conviction set forth in ER 3.8 (g), (h), and (i).”

woman giving thumbs up 3 L uidNo diddling, however, on the part of the Arizona State Bar. One day after the Court’s pronouncement, the Bar emailed all its members with news of a new CLE webcast, “Post-conviction Disclosure: Changes to ER 3.8 and new ER 3.10.” It’s one hour of mandatory continuing legal education in ethics for $39.00.

Small favors. At least the Arizona Bar’s not nicking its lawyers like ALI CLE for CLE likes to do. That organization is quite ‘proud’ of its one-hour webcasts, which typically come in at just two sawbucks shy of $200.

FREE CLE

But happily for lawyers who just want CLE that’s FREE, there are complimentary programs still available elsewhere. Along with the usual disclaimers of continued access, content and availability of jurisdictional credit, here are the latest FREE CLE updates.

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Florida State Bar

Overview of Trust Accounting 2013

(1) Hour Complimentary On-demand Online CLE – Ethics

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Wolter Kluwer Corporate Legal Services /CT Corporation

Delaware’s Business Entity LawsWebinarDecember 4, 2013 1:00 P.M. (Eastern)

Learn about Delaware’s business entity formation and post-formation provisions.

(1) Hour Complimentary CLE

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Practising Law Institute (PLI)

PLI: Seminars – Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Representation 2013 (Free)

December 16, 9:00 a.m. – 11:10 a.m.  (E.S.T.)

(2) Hours Free CLE Credit, Ethics (New York & other jurisdictions)

Troubleshooting Mortgage Servicing Problems: Regulatory Responses and Advocacy Approaches

San Francisco and Live Webcast, December 16, 2013
9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PT

(3.5) Hours FREE CLE Credit (Professional Practice in NY) Check other jurisdictions.

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thetrustadvisor.com

The Future of Trusts, Wills & Estate Planning: Predictions that May Impact Your Clients’ Income, Wealth & Lifestyle

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60-minute teleconference:

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  • Why brick and mortar offices will become an advisors ball and chain.”

Click Here to Register Online or call 1-866-754-6477

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The New York Times Editorial Page weighed in this morning onJustice and Prosecutorial Misconduct,” which was all about the Texas case of Michael Morton. The Innocence Project rightfully deserves a lot of credit for getting Morton exonerated. He was recently released after being wrongly incarcerated for 25 years.

I just blogged about “Michael Morton and another recurring inquiry into alleged prosecutorial misconduct” and how Morton’s lawyers turned up problems with critical evidence that was withheld in the original trial and which – had it been shared – might have kept Morton from rotting in prison for a quarter century.

At the original trial, Williamson County D.A. Ken Anderson was front and center and given the facts that have now turned up, Morton’s lawyers have filed pleadings asking for an investigation into Ken Anderson’s conduct as District Attorney. The thing is, though, that Ken Anderson is now District Judge Ken Anderson.

Nevertheless, Morton’s lawyers want the Texas State Bar and the State Commission on Judicial Conduct to review whether any laws were broken and more significantly, if Judge Anderson ought to be removed from the bench and disbarred.

As the Times editorialized, “The Innocence Project’s report makes a compelling case that Mr. Anderson, now a state judge, disobeyed “a direct order from the trial court to produce the exculpatory police reports from the lead investigator” in the case.”

Although I’m gladdened the newspaper is giving Morton’s case wide play, the Times is simply beating the same figurative dead horse that should have long ago been pulverized to glue.
When – oh when – will prosecutors be held accountable? As the newspaper rightly points out, prosecutorial violations are rarely punished by state bars or judges. And criminal sanctions? Fuggedaboutit!
                                                                                                                                                                               So notwithstanding the unheard of efforts of Morton’s lawyers, I would set the chances of any discipline ever being meted out by either the Texas Bar or the judicial conduct disciplinarians as “slim to none.”
                                                                                                                                                                                  I know. Call me cynical. But as famed Los Angeles radio sportscaster Jim Healy used to say about such long odds,“And slim is in intensive care.”
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Photo Credit: Horse by DuBoixMorguefile at morguefile.com

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Woman covering her eyes uid 1

“Don’t believe everything you read in the Austin American-Statesman,” Texas Governor and Republican hopeful Rick Perry told Fox News‘ Neil Cavuto as he blasted the Austin American-Statesman at last Thursday’s final GOP candidates debate before Iowa’s January 3rd caucuses. Perry’s slam was in response to Cavuto’s question about Perry’s time as Texas agriculture commissioner and “a loan guarantee program that, as the Austin American-Statesman reported at the time, had so many defaults that the state had to stop guaranteeing bank loans to start-ups in the agribusiness, and eventually bailed out the program with the taxpayer money.”

Judges Gavel

I don’t know about any loan program or whether extra circumspection’s required when reading the Austin American-Statesman. But I do know that the Austin, Texas newspaper has been carrying news stories about something far worse in Texas. And it has nothing to do with Perry.

It’s the injustice visited upon Michael Morton, wrongfully convicted in 1987 of murdering his wife, Christine, and who is scheduled to be officially exonerated today after some 25 years in prison. He was released last October. See Michael Morton case | Austin Legal – Statesman.com and Alberta Phillips’ Op-Ed, Sadly, justice for Michael Morton 25 years too late – Statesman.com.

The news story has also made the national wires and is being carried by all the major news outlets, suggesting that notwithstanding its purportedly credibility-challenged source, heed should be taken.

Despite “Brady,” a recurring problem.

Several years ago, I was so infuriated after reading “the litany of legal outrages” in John Grisham’s nonfiction story of police and prosecutorial abuses attendant the wrongful conviction of Ron Williamson, “The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town,” that I bought extra copies of Grisham’s book to give away to friends. This was after first having urged them to read it.

For those happily sanguine in their belief in a fair criminal justice system and the presumption of innocence, read Grisham’s book about what happened to Ron Williamson in Ada, Texas.

And according to The Innocence Project, the problem may extend beyond a small Texas town, as “More people have been freed through DNA testing in Texas than in any other state in the country, and these exonerations have revealed deep flaws in the state’s criminal justice system.” See “Innocence Blog: Reducing Wrongful Convictions in Texas.”

Michael Morton.

As though more corroboration was necessary, there’s the case of Michael Morton, the former grocery store clerk who served almost a quarter century’s worth of a life sentence. The truth will yet out but as of now, it appears Morton should have never been convicted had a prominent prosecutor and now county judge, Ken Anderson, and then prosecutor Mike Davis, now a private practice lawyer, and current District Attorney John Bradley shared potentially exculpatory evidence with the defense – – – as required under Brady v. Maryland 373 U. S. 83.

But then this is a recurring problem not only in Texas but elsewhere like the case of Connick v. Thompson, which I blogged about at No proof of “deliberate indifference” as prosecutorial bacon is saved by high court.” As the Connick case bore out, however, to bring prosecutors to account remains tougher than passing a stone.
Nonetheless, grievances have been filed in the Morton case alleging violation of ethics rules by the Texas Coalition on Lawyer Accountability against the three former or current Williamson County prosecutors involved in the Morton case.
The Texas State Bar is being asked to discipline the trial prosecutors. They cite news reports that Anderson and Davis violated their prosecutorial duty by failing to provide Morton’s trial lawyers with exculpatory evidence. And they further contend that Morton’s time in prison was needlessly prolonged by six more years due to Bradley’s opposition to DNA tests requested by Morton’s legal team. Bradley, Anderson and Davis have repeatedly denied taking any improprieties. See Ken Anderson grievance with narrative and exhibits and “Exonerated of Murder, Texan Seeks Inquiry on Prosecutor.”

Judge Anderson has also apologized for “the system’s failure” but not for anything he did. “In my heart, I know there was no misconduct whatsoever,” he said.

Meanwhile, Morton tries to rebuild his life. One report,Court affirms Morton’s innocence,” says that following his release, he spent an hour in the backyard of his parents’ home just watching the squirrels at play.

http://youtu.be/QvU3UKaBlRQ

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Photo Credits: “Ouch, Kidney Stones Suck,” by Terry Martin, iPhone Developer, at http://www.tzmartin.com and via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution and share alike distribution at Flickr.

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“Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.” – Unknown

https://cdn.morguefile.com/imageData/public/files/a/anitapatterson/preview/fldr_2004_10_16/file0001529137639.jpgAs I don’t think much of politicians, I’m in favor of term limits. And this is why I invoked the above-mentioned quote about pols and their affinity to soiled nappies when I blogged about lawyers who discuss politics with clients.

File:Unangenehme Vaterpflichten.JPG

U.S. public domain tag

But the quote’s also timely since the Nevada Supreme Court has agreed to look at whether term limits as enshrined in Article 15, section 3 of the state constitution apply to district attorneys. More to the point, is it constitutionally permissible for a recently reelected county district attorney to serve a fourth term since he’s already held the Office for 12 years?

Article 15, section 3, (2) of Nevada’s Constitution states: “2. No person may be elected to any state office or local governing body who has served in that office, or at the current expiration of his current term if he is serving will have served, 12 years or more, unless the permissible number of terms or duration of service is otherwise specified in this Constitution.”


O’Connor v. Mallory

In filing his appeal to Nevada’s highest court, John O’Connor is challenging the reelection of wanna-be 4 term Churchill County District Attorney Arthur Mallory.

O’Connor says that D.A.s are “either a legislative or state office under Article 4, section 32 of the Nevada Constitution” and that term limits apply.

Mallory, on the other hand, says that the constitutional provision is inapplicable since he’s a local officer not a state officer. See O’Connor v. Mallory (57312)

But these semantic distinctions are nonsensical. When the Nevada electorate voted for term limits, they intended to hold elected nonjudicial officials accountable by limiting the terms of their political office so they couldn’t be either local or state office lifers.

‘Whatchamacallit’

But leave it to lawyers to argue over labeling the ‘whatchamacallit’ while forgetting what the ‘thingamajig’ was meant for.

As for myself, I don’t think it much matters whether you call it a donkey or a burro, it’s still a jackass. And if D.A.s aren’t politicians and political animals in every sense, then you can beat me like a rented mule.

And then there’s what Stephen Raher wrote in “Defending D.A. Term limits” about a Colorado referendum that would have exempted D.A.s from term limits. Raher said the “immense power” wielded by district attorneys places them at the pinnacle of the elected officials who need the greatest degree of oversight and control. “Probably no other person in government can affect an individual’s life as much as a prosecutor – – and no one can harm an innocent person as much as a district attorney bent on bringing a highly publicized prosecution.”  

Far as I know, Colorado is the only state that term limits district attorneys. It was part of a 1994 amendment to Article 18, Section 11 of the state constitution that limited all “elected government officials(2) other than judges, to two four-year terms. Most district attorneys around Colorado have term limits.

Poster-child prosecutorial misconduct.

To underscore why I think such limits are a good thing, take poster-child New Orleans, Louisiana where in the absence of term limits, Harry Connick, Sr. ruled for 30 years. Connick’s tenure as head of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office was best distinguished by prosecutorial misconduct charges.

The bad part is that despite instances of misconduct in New Awlins and elsewhere, prosecutors are largely immune from adverse consequences. Time and again, the prosecutorial bacon is saved.

Moreover, there’s little respite or remedy from the canons of professional responsibility. For instance, how often are prosecutors disbarred? (1)

A recent study also found that prosecutors who withhold evidence are almost never disciplined. And the same study further concluded that,“professional responsibility measures as they are currently composed do a poor job of policing prosecutorial misconduct.” See The Myth of Prosecutorial Accountability After Connick v. Thompson: Why Existing Professional Responsibility Measures Cannot Protect Against Prosecutorial Misconduct.” (2)

Further corroborating what happens when there’s no accountability, down in the ‘Big Easy,‘ notwithstanding the U.S. Supreme Court’s wrong-headed decision in Connick v. Thompson, the hits just keep on coming. For the third time in 16 years, the U.S. Supremes will get more bites at the same apple as the “Orleans Parish D.A.’s Office Again Faces U.S. Supreme Court.”

And doubtless since he invested so much of himself in the Thompson Opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas will likely again take up the lead in gently applying his cavalier ministrations on the ham-fisted work of Orleans Parish prosecutors.

So back in Nevada, in light of the above, the practical and realistic solution to protect the community from potential prosecutorial abuses is to term limit the D.A. – – –  just as the voters intended.

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(1) But hold that thought for the non-refuting rule exception in the case of Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

(2) David Keenan, Deborah Jane Cooper, David Lebowitz & Tamar Lerer, The Myth of Prosecutorial Accountability After Connick v. Thompson: Why Existing Professional Responsibility Measures Cannot Protect Against Prosecutorial Misconduct, 121 Yale L.J. Online 203 (2011), http://yalelawjournal.org/2011/10/25/keenan.html.

(3) “Section 11. Elected government officials limitation on terms. (1) In order to broaden the opportunities for public service and to assure that elected officials of governments are responsive to the citizens of those governments, no nonjudicial elected official of any county, city and county, city, town, school district, service authority, or any other political subdivision of the State of Colorado, no member of the state board of education, and no elected member of the governing board of a state institution of higher education shall serve more than two consecutive terms in office, except that with respect to terms of office which are two years or shorter in duration, no such elected official shall serve more than three consecutive terms in office. This limitation on the number of terms shall apply to terms of office beginning on or after January 1, 1995. For purposes of this Section 11, terms are considered consecutive unless they are at least four years apart.

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