Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Brooklyn DA reality vs reality television

A few weeks ago, CBS debuted a new TV reality series called Brooklyn DA (here).  It promised to be a candid look at the men and women who work as prosecutors in Brooklyn.  It did not go well.  As television goes, the show bombed and is reportedly cancelled (or soon to be cancelled).  More interestingly is the contrast between reality TV and the reality.

While the show attempted to portray the DAs office as the good guys doing the right thing all the time, the real drama is unfolding away from the cameras.  As Jonathan Turley reports
The Brooklyn district attorney Charles J. Hynes is not have a particularly good week. First, Hynes had to fire one of his top people after Gang Bureau head Deanna Rodriguez used racist and anti-gay language. Now he will have to testify about allegations that his office ignores and even promotes prosecutorial misconduct. The testimony will occur in the case of Jabbar Collins, who has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the office of District Attorney Charles J. Hynes after he won his release after 16 years in prison for murder. He claims that his case is only one of an array of cases showing a pattern of egregious abuses and misconduct by Hynes’ office and prosecutors. . . . . Among the abuse was the so-called “hotel custody program” where witnesses were detained against their will and allegedly pressured into false statements. A paralegal detailed how prosecutors used the alleged forced interrogations to get witnesses to support their cases.
 The story also appears in the New York Times (here).  Given the controversy, at least one report wonders if "it might be these upcoming depositions of the DA and his shady Rackets Bureau chief that might really be the reason CBS is bailing on a series that it never should have aired in the first place."  For more criticism of the show, go here.

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