Malicious Prosecution

Jeralyn is traveling, but I think she would want to highlight this Richard Moran Op-Ed on bad faith prosecution:

My recently completed study of the 124 exonerations of death row inmates in America from 1973 to 2007 indicated that 80, or about two-thirds, of their so-called wrongful convictions resulted not from good-faith mistakes or errors but from intentional, willful, malicious prosecutions by criminal justice personnel. (There were four cases in which a determination could not be made one way or another.)

Yet too often this behavior is not singled out and identified for what it is. When a prosecutor puts a witness on the stand whom he knows to be lying, or fails to turn over evidence favorable to the defense, or when a police officer manufactures or destroys evidence to further the likelihood of a conviction, then it is deceptive to term these conscious violations of the law — all of which I found in my research — as merely mistakes or errors.

Mistakes are good-faith errors — like taking the wrong exit off the highway, or dialing the wrong telephone number. There is no malice behind them. However, when officers of the court conspire to convict a defendant of first-degree murder and send him to death row, they are doing much more than making an innocent mistake or error. They are breaking the law.

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    Not Really (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Claw on Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 10:05:35 AM EST
    A high profile conviction or a defendant sent to death row is a feather in the cap of the prosecutor who handled the case.  Sadly.

    Worse than "breaking the law" (none / 0) (#1)
    by OkieFromMuskogee on Thu Aug 02, 2007 at 01:09:44 PM EST
    If a prosecutor puts someone he knows to be innocent on death row, wouldn't that fit the definition of attempted murder?

    I sure think so. (none / 0) (#2)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Aug 02, 2007 at 01:22:54 PM EST
    the author does speak to that point, kinda...
    In the interest of fairness, it is important to note that those who are exonerated are not necessarily innocent of the crimes that sent them to death row. They have simply had their death sentences set aside because of errors that led to convictions, usually involving the intentional violation of their constitutional right to a fair and impartial trial. Very seldom does the court go the next step and actually declare them innocent.

    In addition, some of these unlawful convictions resulted from criminal justice officials trying to do the right thing. (A police officer, say, plants evidence on a defendant he is convinced is guilty, fearing that the defendant will escape punishment otherwise.) In cases like these, officers or prosecutors have been known to "frame a guilty man."

    Run, don't walk (none / 0) (#3)
    by roger on Thu Aug 02, 2007 at 02:02:05 PM EST
    and rent a copy of "A Touch of Evil" by Orson Welles

    I asked if anyone had ever been charged with (none / 0) (#4)
    by JSN on Thu Aug 02, 2007 at 02:20:42 PM EST
    malicious prosecution or murder in such cases and the answer was no. I guess the compensation issue if there is one is dealt with either by negotiation or as a civil court matter.

    I have noticed that the prosecutor normally is pretty militant about saying there was no error on their part when they are reversed. Perhaps that is damage control because the potential for large compensation is magnified if malice can be proved.


    How can people do such things? (none / 0) (#5)
    by chemoelectric on Thu Aug 02, 2007 at 09:47:07 PM EST
    It's a little baffling.

    Prosecutors Are Master Framers (none / 0) (#7)
    by ba219 on Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 06:18:00 PM EST
     Think you may be interested in a post from my blog, Barbara's Journey Toward Justice - Dated June 22  Prosecutors Are Master Framers