Prosecutors Behaving Badly

• The top drug prosecutor, two police officers, and a retired circuit court judge in Wayne County, Michigan will be arraigned today on charges that they suborned (or in the judge's case, knowingly allowed) perjury in a case against two alleged cocaine dealers.

A federal judge in Miami has concluded that prosecutors in a prescription painkiller case against a Florida doctor committed "flagrant violations" during the trial, including unauthorized recordings of witness calls during an illegal attempted bribery sting on one of the defense attorneys (he didn't take the bait). There are also allegations that the DEA pressured one of the state's witnesses to lie on the stand. The defendant was acquitted.

• Santa Clara County, California has been rocked by a series of scandals in which police and prosecutors withheld key exculpatory evidence from defense counsel, including in hundreds of sex abuse cases. One prosecutor was recently given an unprecedented three-year suspension by the state bar. So what has been the reaction from Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr? Shame? Anger? Promises for reform?  Nope. She wants to limit the state bar's authority to discipline prosecutors.

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  • TofuSushi||

    Maybe this will get the right people in charge.

  • Naga Sadow||

    I was hardly fazed by your articles Balko. Is this what it's like being you or do I still have some learning to do before I'm as jaded as you?

  • Taktix®||

    Yo, fuck... well, everybody...

  • ||

    If we could get these episodes turned into an entertaining tv show, ala Dragnet, maybe we could make some progress with the people.

  • Jerry Brown||

    In other police news, four Oakland police officers were shot and killed by a piece of shit yesterday.

    Fortunately, ex-felon, parole-violating, rapist the piece of shit was shot and killed as well.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2009/03/24/MNBQ16LGNH.DTL

  • ||

    "The way I see it," Carr said, "is they had a breakdown in communication," partly because the crime lab examiner did not prepare a written report until after the verdict.

    the crime lab examiner did not prepare a written report until after the verdict.

    What the fuck? How does that work?

  • ||

    What's your point, Jerry?

  • Taktix®||

    In other police news, four Oakland police officers were shot and killed by a piece of shit yesterday.

    A piece of shit that likely would still be in jail were the prisons not overcrowded with innocent people...

  • Jerry Brown||

    "What's your point, Jerry?"

    Balance.

  • ||

    Juanita, is that you?

  • Jerry Brown||

    "A piece of shit that likely would still be in jail were the prisons not overcrowded with innocent people..."

    Absolutely.

  • ||

    Jerry Brown, even though most police are corrupt at some level, we should not celebrate when some turd kills them. That turd might have killed good cops or even real people.

  • Jerry Brown||

    "we should not celebrate when some turd kills them."

    ???

  • ||

    Balance?
    The sequence of events you referred to does not, in any way, shape, or form, mitigate official misconduct by prosecutors in totally unrelated cases.

  • ||

    Oh...you weren't celebrating. You were offering balance on the order of "sure many cops are corrupt, but other good ones die performing their routine traffic stoply duties, so we're even". I see.

  • Jerry Brown||

    "Oh...you weren't celebrating. You were offering balance on the order of "sure many cops are corrupt, but other good ones die performing their routine traffic stoply duties, so we're even". I see."

    Yeah. Sure. That must be it.

  • ||

    Maybe Jerry's point was that criminals are scum, and so it takes scum to catch scum?

  • ||

    This shit is fucking infuriating. I need to go punch a kitten or something to calm down.

  • ||

    I hate incomplete stories. I NEED to know if Chad Povish got his 10% of seized property and what that amounted to. I love the prosecuter's name: Karen Plants. Couldn't make up a name that good.

  • ||

    Maybe you can pick up some embryos from your local federally-funded in vitro clinic and punch them.

  • ||

    WTF, I think the story has been edited in the last few minutes. Reference to the paid informant, Chad Povish, has been removed, but his name is still in the pdf files linked at the story.

  • ||

    You know where this is going. Don't click it if you don't want to read it.

  • cuernimus||

    The comments section of Jerry's link has this: "This comment violated SFGate's Terms and Conditions, and has been removed," about every 4th comment. I'd really like to see what they could be saying, but it seems I'll never find out since the editors seem to be a bunch of niggards.

  • ||

    Maybe you can pick up some embryos from your local federally-funded in vitro clinic and punch them.

    Yes! Good idea! They'll squish nicely.

  • ||

    Screw you, Epi. I was going to eat those embryos to cure my diabeetus.

  • TofuSushi||

    This shit is fucking infuriating. I need to go punch a kitten or something to calm down.

    No thanks. SugarFree already punched my Chastity plate of Iron.

  • ||

    "I need to go punch a kitten an attorney or something to calm down."

    If you're going to punch something, it might as well be something that deserves it.

  • Taktix®||

    Yes! Good idea! They'll squish nicely.

    Really? I prefer a little more heft to my unwarranted targets of frustration.

    Like mimes, or environmentalists, or Jehovahs Witnesses...

  • ||

    Screw you, Epi. I was going to eat those embryos to cure my diabeetus.

    And Christopher Reeve already beat you to the stem cells. Not your day, is it.

    If you're going to punch something, it might as well be something that deserves it.

    Look, if I could punch Michael Bay, I would.

  • ||

    Not your day, is it.

    From Hell's heart, my pancreas stabs at thee!

  • ||

    (punches NutraSweet in the pancreas)

    Now I feel better.

  • ||

    My pancreas! How did he know my one weakness?

  • Lefiti||

    This is bad, but imagine how bad prosecuters would be in a fucking libertarian plutocracy.

  • cuernimus||

    Kittens and embryos are a dime a dozen. The most satisfying smash comes from the destruction of priceless antiques or artwork. Knowing that you are depriving future generations of their beauty is supremely satisfying. Though I could also see the pleasure derived from funding a Michael Bay movie; it's like punching every generation from now until the end of the universe right in the brain.

  • ||

    http://freep.com/uploads/pdfs/2009/03/0324agreport.pdf

    ^pdf from linked story (#1) - explains things better than the article.

    Chad Povish was not entitled to 10% of property seized (as originally appeared, before all mention of the helpful man was removed), he was entitled to 10% of any monies seized. Holly shit, 10% of any money seized on a 47 Kilo coke deal!? 47K is 13,256 balls. At $30 per ball (pulled from my ass) this guy would pocket 40 grand for his community service - there are quite a few assumption there.

    So anyway, I was just wondering if any of the posters here are doing anything illegal on a large scale. Just curious, and I could always use a few extra bucks.

  • ||

    My pancreas! How did he know my one weakness?

    You know, what tipped it for me was something your wife said while we were in bed together. She remarked that my pancreas was much more magnificent than yours.

  • ||

    just wondering if any of the posters here are doing anything illegal on a large scale. Just curious, and I could always use a few extra bucks.

    Just the sedition, but there's not actually any money in it.

  • Reinmoose||

    So what has been the reaction from Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr? Shame? Anger? Promises for reform? Nope. She wants to limit the state bar's authority to discipline prosecutors.

    Shouldn't this be cause for public shaming? Does she need her face on billboards?

  • ||

    P Brooks-

    There are profound differences between attorneys who, on the one hand are judges and prosecutors and attorneys who, on the other hand are toiling to end alimony, affirmative action, immunity for judges and prosecutors and other parasites who are "employed" by the public sector, as well as repeal of the communist Patriot Act, repeal of the WoD, the resuscitation of the privileges and immunities clause and the revitalization of the second amendment.

    Wouldn't you agree?

    Further, lawyers who chase ambulances are infinitely superior to the lawyers who are judges and prosecutors. The former at least serve the purpose of making those who, by their actions or omissions, cause harm to their clients. The latter, see Balko.

  • Taktix®||

    This is bad, but imagine how bad prosecuters would be in a fucking libertarian plutocracy.

    Lefiti,

    Absolutely. We would be so screwed! Lol!

    I wish I could figure things out so easily like you, Mr. Big Man-Brain!

    Are you doing anything this weekend? Lol!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Look, if I could punch Michael Bay, I would.



    Yeah, you gotta be in shape to fight Uwe Boll .

  • ||

    Seriously, Nazis that kill themselves when they hit 30. Wow. A comedy about keeping runners in a concentration camp. This thing writes itself!

    That. Is. Awesome.

    I have to give Boll credit for willing to do this. Plus, his movies suck in that special, WTF?!? way that makes them oh-so-slightly entertaining.

  • ||

    Oh shit, pasting fuckup. I meant to reference BakedPenguin.

  • ||

    I need to go punch a kitten an attorney or something to calm down

    Yes! Good idea! They'll squish nicely.

  • ||

    "Further, lawyers who chase ambulances are infinitely superior to the lawyers who are judges and prosecutors."

    I agreed with you up until this point. First off, many young prosecutors ply their trade in the hopes of becoming a big time ambulance chaser. And as you are aware, ambulance chasers aren't out for justice. They are out for as much money as possible. Second, a good deal of ambulance chasers represent people exaggerating claims, making up injuries or running fraudulent schemes. Third, they drum up needless litigation, clogging the court system for people who are actually hurt. Fourth, while ambulance chasers counterbalance 'deny everything' insurance companies, they have no incentive to reform the system with an eye towards justice. I've been on both sides of the courtroom, and I can't say I admire either one.

  • JP||

    The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

    Oh ... wait. That's not what I meant.

    The first thing we do, let's kill all the other lawyers. Yeah, that's the ticket.

  • ||

    Don't kill me! I'm a lawyer, but I'm not bad! Really! I promise! In my line of work I'll probably have a 40+ year career and never see the inside of a courtroom once.

    I continue to maintain that many prosecutors are an absolute embarrassment to my profession though.

    Plus, context people! Does anyone remember the context of the "First, kill all the lawyers" Shakespeare quote?

  • Cabeza De Vaca||

    "If they don't want any perjured testimony to come out," an unrepentant Plants said of defense lawyers in 2006, "then they shouldn't ask those questions."

    Unbelievable.

  • Xeones||

    This is bad, but imagine how bad prosecuters would be in a fucking libertarian plutocracy.

    Yes, because the goal of libertarianism is merely to dismantle the current system of power in order to set up a different system of power. You've figured us out! Libertarians' problems are just with who's running things, not with the power itself! We actually love oppression, and all of our arguments against it are really because we're jealous that we're not the ones doing the oppressing! Oh, and you've peed yourself again, you retarded piece of shit.

  • ||

    If we killed all the lawyers, then we'd have to hire UFC guys to "represent" us.

  • ||

    Lamar-

    Sure, ambulance chasers are not in the same class as the first type of lawyer I was describing. However, I still would take them, as a class, over prosecutors and judges. At least they do not have the power to arrest, prosecute and jail medical marijuana dispensers, growers and users. At least they do not have the ability to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate people engaging in consensual activities. At least they do not have absolute immunity so there is some incentive to be above aboard.

    Clogging the system? There are far more drug cases clogging up the system than fraudulent civil claims. The "tort reform" movement is fond of peddling the "clogging up the system" canard. All one has to do is check the court dockets on a given day and one would discover that there are far more criminal cases involving malum prohibitum charges than frivolous/fraudulent civil cases.

  • ||

    Further, a huge percentage of phony/fraudulent civil claims are filed by cops and other public sector employees seeking disability, workmen's compensation and retitrement benefits.

  • T||

    Just the sedition, but there's not actually any money in it.

    Then you're doing it wrong.

    1. Sedition
    2. ???
    3. Profit!

    See how easy it is? I mean, hell, public servants get paid good money to trample the constitution, why can't you?

  • ||

    The law firm of Lesnar, St. Pierre and Penn?

    interesting

  • ||

    "Clogging the system? There are far more drug cases clogging up the system than fraudulent civil claims. The "tort reform" movement is fond of peddling the "clogging up the system" canard."

    In my experience, the criminal system and civil system are separate (not even in the same building, lawyers nobody ever saw, etc.). However, from an overall resource allocation perspective, you are correct.

  • ||

    "The law firm of Lesnar, St. Pierre and Penn?

    interesting."


    It's a little cumbersome to say, but they do good work when the ninjas show up at your door.

  • ||

    Lamar-

    There are thousands and thousands of courtrooms around the country where both civil and criminal matters are heard-on the same day-by the same judge.

  • ||

    "If they don't want any perjured testimony to come out," an unrepentant Plants said of defense lawyers in 2006, "then they shouldn't ask those questions."

    Ahhh, the old, "Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies" defense.

  • whappan?||

    Libertymike:

    At least they do not have the power to arrest, prosecute and jail medical marijuana dispensers, growers and users. At least they do not have the ability to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate people engaging in consensual activities.

    It's worse. They don't just have the power to do those things, they have the desire to do them.

  • Whappan?||

    Stupid tags. I swear I closed them.

  • whappan?||

    Of course the last part shouldn't be in italics.

  • ||

    "There are thousands and thousands of courtrooms around the country where both civil and criminal matters are heard-on the same day-by the same judge."

    That's why I stated my own experience. I've been to some smaller towns and enjoyed practicing there. But, honestly, if they can get by with a single judge doing civil and criminal, there probably isn't much room to claim that drug cases or tort cases are clogging up much of anything. Then again, I don't know that.

  • Some Idiot||

    Lamar

    Even small towns probably have more than one judge in a jurisdiction. If its that small a town its court probably serves a whole county. District courts handle minor criminal offenses and minor civil/family law/juvenile situations. Usually you go to Circuit Court for civil matters when the claim hits a certain dollar value and for more serious criminal matters (basically anything where a jury trial might be requested). Generally trial judges hear both civil and criminal cases. There is no institutional separation anywhere I've ever heard of (I'm a law student).

    Judges and prosecutors need to be held accountable for breaking the rules and misconduct but you can't blame them for the WoD and other things. These are policy decisions that have been made through the legislature. Sure its within their discretion to prosecute or not to give stiff sentences for drug offenses but you have to keep in mind many judges and district attorneys are elected. Therefore they reflect the values of the people who put them in office and sadly most of the population simply has yet to come around on the absurdity of prohibition.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I wonder how many victims of these people will resort to terrorism.

  • jester||

    Radley,

    You're the civil liberties part of the ACLU that the latter doesn't or won't ever understand i.e. statism equals anti-civil-liberty.

    You're in a great position and great things will result for all of us individuals who are wronged by the state.

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