Sunday, March 31, 2019

New statute in New York creates a commission to review prosecutorial misconduct

Long time readers of this blog know that I have posted a lot of stories about prosecutorial misconduct over the years (go here and scroll down).  And in many of those stories, I have often complained that courts do not do enough to confront the problem.

Today, for a change, I am reporting that one state is at least trying.  As reported in Jurist:
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Wednesday to create a commission to review prosecutorial misconduct by District Attorneys.  This is the second version of the bill that the governor has signed. The first version of the bill was challenged by a coalition of district attorneys under separation of powers concerns between the judiciary and legislature, but was halted among promises to revise the bill. The governor and state legislature made changes regarding the 11 appointments to the commission. The original version allowed the legislature to appoint all members of the Commission, and the bill signed on Wednesday allows for appointments from the governor, legislative party members, and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. The commission will review potential misconduct of state prosecutors and impose necessary sanctions. The panel can subpoena witnesses and ask for relevant records to conduct its investigation. Upon a finding of misconduct, prosecutors can be sanctioned ranging from public censure to being removed by the governor. Prosecutors will also be able to challenge the panel’s decisions on an appeal to the Appellate Division of the NY’s Supreme Court.  The new version of the bill is still expected to face due process and equal protection challenges for expanding the power and authority of the state judiciary.
You can read the text of the bill here.

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