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Prosecutors Held Accountable After Nine Years in Prison

Today's New York Times reports on a man convicted in a case in which the prosecutor was sitting on a mountain of exculpatory evidence. When the defendant dug up the information, the Bronx DA told him it had been exempt from disclosure during his trial because of a novel legal doctrine they cooked up on the spot. This new principle, called "law enforcement exemption" by the Bronx DA, sounds a little like Bernie Ebbers' defense: It was being handled by another part of the office and I didn't know about it.

The DA got 9 different state judges to buy into it before a federal judge started asking embarrassing questions which led to the defendant's release. Applause for Legal Aid lawyer Mitchell Briskey for his determination and ultimate success in this case. [Hat tip to Terry Kindlon]

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    Re: Prosecutors Held Accountable After Nine Years (none / 0) (#1)
    by wishful on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 01:57:47 PM EST
    NINE. DIFFERENT. STATE. JUDGES. BOUGHT. IN. to IT???!!!??? WTF!?

    Throw the prosecuter/purpertrator in jail to finish the guys sentence

    OT but Robert Blake was found not guilty

    Re: Prosecutors Held Accountable After Nine Years (none / 0) (#4)
    by Richard Aubrey on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 03:00:25 PM EST
    Sounds like the fog-a-mirror test for picking judges isn't sufficient. How much time is the prosecutor going to get?

    You missed one of the most important points. The defendant was required to waive the right to clear his name in order to get out of jail. This way the DA Richard Brown can still delude himself into believing his office did no wrong.

    Since people did not post the court orders of the "nine" different state judges, it is difficult to accord much credibility to TL's version of the story. Look, as someone who actually has to deal with these issues, it is all well and good to get the lay people angry about things that they can't understand, but when it comes to winning cases you have to know details. Not what nonlawyers write in the New York Times.

    Re: Prosecutors Held Accountable After Nine Years (none / 0) (#7)
    by Peter G on Wed Mar 16, 2005 at 04:43:51 PM EST
    Usually the rhetorical fluorish "nine different judges" (as opposed to what? five different judges and four pretty much the same?) turns out to mean: (1) the trial judge, (2-3) two out of 3 judges on a panel of the intermediate level appellate court; and (4-9) six of the seven judges on the state's highest court [or something like that]. Just an educated and experienced guess. Do you happen to know, TL? Undoubtedly, it really just means that he lost at all 3 levels of the state court system, which is of course true, by definition, of every state prisoner, unjustly convicted, whose rights are eventually vindicated on federal habeas corpus. (Which is not as many as should be, thanks to many unfair procedural hurdles imposed since 1996, but my point here is that the "nine different judges" aspect doesn't seem that significant to me.)

    but when it comes to winning cases you have to know details. Not what nonlawyers write in the New York Times. Yes! Yes! Not the Times. I believe YOU, anonymous commentor!

    I would like to say this to the system,$@$R#$@^&((^^(*()_)_)_+. hope i don't go to prison for saying that?

    Freddy, Please don't talk about the system that way. I don't want the police knocking at our door in the middle of the night like last year. Alice

    What is your home address Fred??

    There should be a strict liability crime for prosecutors who fail to disclose exculpatory evidence. And mandatory jail time, maybe at Angola. This abuse of power really requires strong action. Is it going to happen?

    This abuse of power really requires strong action. Is it going to happen? And the answer is NO!

    FBI - If you don't know his home address, just follow the Bush doctrine and knock at any random door.

    Re: Prosecutors Held Accountable After Nine Years (none / 0) (#15)
    by Walter on Thu Mar 17, 2005 at 12:18:38 AM EST
    at March 16 5;00 PM said
    Look, as someone who actually has to deal with these issues
    ,....In what way do you deal with these issues?

    Re: Prosecutors Held Accountable After Nine Years (none / 0) (#16)
    by Richard Aubrey on Thu Mar 17, 2005 at 04:29:59 AM EST
    I don't see what the lineup of the "nine judges" has to do with anything. Whether the case hit them as individuals or as parts of a court, all that was needed was for ONE--just one, is that too much to ask?--guy to say, "Hey. Wait a minute. Law enforcement exception?" Presumably, his colleagues would rouse themselves from their slumber and think for a moment.

    Re: Prosecutors Held Accountable After Nine Years (none / 0) (#17)
    by wishful on Thu Mar 17, 2005 at 06:14:57 AM EST
    Yikes!, I'm in full agreement with RA! Is the world ending, or something?

    I really think you ought to change the lead on this article. I don't see that the prosecutors have been held accountable, the judge just insisted that they play by the rules. 9 years after the game got started. Just where is the accountability of the prosecutors in this series of events?

    Okay, well, you can believe the New York Times if you want. However, in my profession (I am a lawyer, you know), you gotta cite sources. If you want to claim that a court did something, you probably should not cite the New York Times. Lay people can read newspapers, but this is what separates lay people from lawyers. You asked how I deal with those issues. Well, I spent four years representing criminal defendants. You read the New York Times. Now, of course, TL, or the NYT could have provided the opinions to us. But they did not. This is why I canít credit their interpretations of them.