Monday, May 9, 2016

ABA Journal on perjury by prosecutors' witnesses, but no comment on the conduct of the prosecutors -- UPDATED

The ABA Journal has a story today on how courts are not doing much about a little kept secret in Chicago courts:  that police officers sometimes lie on the stand.  I wrote "sometimes" but the tone of the story clearly implies this is a much bigger problem than that.

In any case, the story and the comments are all about how there are little consequences for the officers who lie on the stand, which is likely true.  But what is not discussed in the story is the role of the prosecutors who present the testimony.  How come they get a pass too?  If it is true that "everyone knows" the witnesses are lying, can you really say the prosecutors didn't know?  And if that is the case, shouldn't they be disciplined for it?

Obviously, part of the problem is proving the allegations of "knowledge" but the rules clearly hold that knowledge "can be inferred from the circumstances."   I have said it a million times and will continue to say it.  If you want to do something about prosecutorial misconduct, judges have to start taking it seriously.

For more comments on prosecutorial misconduct go here and scroll down.

UPDATE 10:30pm:  So, a few hours after I posted this comment and my complaint about judges not taking prosecutorial misconduct seriously, I came across this story in Simple Justice about what appears to be the very first ever attempt to impose sanctions on a prosecutor in Utah.

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