As former Reasoner Radley Balko has painstakingly documented, prosecutors often face few consequences when they abuse their power. Knowingly send an innocent man to death row? No problem.
With that in mind I direct your attention to Massachusetts, where a prosecutor’s abusive practices have rendered consequences.
From the Patriot-Ledger:
Objecting to her work on drug forfeiture cases as a federal prosecutor, the Governor's Council on Wednesday rejected [Shelbey] Wright, Gov. Deval Patrick's pick for a seat on the … Boston Municipal Court.
… In two separate cases, Wright chose to pursue property forfeitures from innocent wives of drug suspects, despite knowing the women had no knowledge of the criminal activity.
In one case, the widow had lived in the house for 30 years, and there was no evidence that any drug money was used to purchase or pay for the house…. Her husband, who was the subject of the federal charges, had committed suicide.
[Councilor Robert Jubinville] said Wright acknowledged she had the discretion to drop the case after the husband’s death, but decided not to.
In another case, an innocent women’s son committed suicide while the government pursued taking the family home, he said.
“What’s troubling to me is the fact that in the two cases, and I asked her this, I said ‘What was the point of forfeiting the house after the husband committed suicide? You knew she had nothing to do with the crime. Doesn’t the government have enough houses? Don’t they have enough money?” Jubinville said.
It’s not exactly a retreat from absolute immunity. But hopefully prosecutors who aspire to a seat in the judiciary will take note. People don’t like it when you steal.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons | Pam Roth