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Kamala Harris Went to Bat for Dirty Prosecutors as California Attorney General

The newest member of the Senate Judiciary Committee has a record on criminal justice. Some of it's not pretty.

Alex Edelman/ZUMA Press/NewscomAlex Edelman/ZUMA Press/NewscomScroll through the carefully manicured Twitter account of Sen. Kamala Harris, a rising star in the Democratic Party and one of the newest members of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, and you'll find many references to "justice."

Harris is one of the strongest voices in the Senate for criminal justice reform and rolling back the drug war. However, during Harris' time as a prosecutor and eventually California attorney general, her offices repeatedly tried to tip the scales of justice in favor of prosecutors.

Such tactics aren't unusual among state prosecutors, unfortunately, but they are revealing.

When a judge removed the entire Orange County District Attorney's Office from a death penalty trial in 2015—after it was revealed in a bombshell memo that the sheriff's department had been running an unconstitutional jailhouse informant program—Harris' office appealed the removal.

"The Attorney General believes the findings of the court regarding the discovery violations in this case are serious and demand further investigation," the California A.G.'s office said in a statement. "But, as the court found, 'there is no direct evidence that the District Attorney actively participated in the concealment of this information from the defense and the court.'"

In 2015, the California Attorney General did announce it was conducting an investigation into the affair, but that report has yet to be released. In the meantime, the jailhouse snitch scandal has tainted more than a dozen criminal cases, including several murder trials.

Harris' record as San Francisco D.A. has similar instances. In 2010, a California superior court judge excoriated Harris' office for failing to notify defense lawyers of known misconduct by a drug lab technician that later led the San Francisco police to shut down an entire section of the lab.

The judge wrote that an internal office memo showed that prosecutors "at the highest levels of the district attorney's office knew that Madden was not a dependable witness at trial and that there were serious concerns regarding the crime lab."

The judge wrote that Harris' office had some "duty to implement some type of procedure to secure and produce information relevant to Madden's criminal history." However, the judge's requests that prosecutors explain why nothing happened were met with "a level of indifference."

As California Attorney General, Harris' office continued to display indifference toward concerns of misconduct. In March 2015, the California A.G. appealed the dismissal of a child molestation case after a Kern County prosecutor falsified an interview transcript to add an incriminating confession.

Harris' office, citing state court precedent, tried to argue that the prosecutor's action "was certainly conscience shocking in the sense that it involved false testimony by a prosecutor in a formal criminal proceeding. But it did not involve 'brutal and … offensive' conduct employed to obtain a conviction." In other words, the defendant's false confession wasn't beaten out of him, and therefore didn't violate his constitutional rights. The judge disagreed and threw out the conviction.

In another 2015 case, Baca v. Adams, Harris' office opposed a post-conviction appeal by a defendant who was sentenced after the prosecutor in his case lied to the jury about whether an informant received compensation for his testimony. A state court found the prosecutor's testimony was "sheer fantasy," but declined to overturn the conviction.

The former chief judge of the 9th Circuit, Alex Kozinski, an outspoken critic of prosecutorial misconduct (himself now retired amid sexual harassment allegations), proceeded to rhetorically flay the deputy attorney general who had the unfortunate job of defending the A.G.'s position that the prosecutor had not lied. Kozinski asked why unethical prosecutors weren't being charged with perjury or disciplined at all for their misconduct.

"[Harris], or someone in her office, could prosecute these cases if she thought this was a serious matter that was not being handled by the local authorities," Kozinski said. "Has that happened? Has an investigation been done? Have any steps been taken to show that California does not condone prosecutors getting on the stand and lying to the jury in a criminal case?"

"In this case… I guess, my answer is, I suppose, other than the criticism from the court of appeal, the answer to that is no," the deputy attorney general responded.

Kozinski threatened that "it would look terrible in an opinion when we write it up and name names." After the video of the hearing—the courtroom equivalent of a snuff film—went viral in law circles, the California A.G.'s office filed a motion dropping its opposition, "in the interest of justice." Harris had announced she was running for the U.S. Senate about two weeks earlier, and she was, after all, very concerned about justice.

Photo Credit: Alex Edelman/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • Jerryskids||

    What's Nancy Grace up to these days?

  • Johnny Hit n Run Paulene||

    About 5' 1"

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    Hopefully boiling in a vat of her own bile.

  • swaged||

    So, just another prosecutor.

  • ALWAYS RIGHT||

    If you write comments, you are automatically in the top 5% of concerned citizens. What about the rest of the USA?

  • Johnny Hit n Run Paulene||

    Um, they're in the bottom 95% of concerned citizens?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Well, they could also be in the top 5% it's just not guaranteed.

  • DiegoF||

    Well, I for one think it's about time we had a woman president. It's 2018! (Well, according to your patriarchial Western pope-created calendar it is, that is. Reckoning from the Hijra of the Prophet, the first feminist, it is 1439.)
    .
    Speaking of the virtues of the fairer sex, it's Women's March time again! For you savages outside driving distance to New York, note that second part "About the Rally in Las Vegas." And yep, it's really just a pro-gun control rally thinly disguised as a women's rights event. Thank God I'm not a woman, a gay, or a black, because as it is the use of these groups as a banner for anti-self-defense and pro-police-dependence activism is so perverse it literally makes me nauseous just thinking about it. FUUUCK I hate these fucking people. I wish this fucking rally was here in New York. I really do.
    .
    Then again, maybe I should feel less bad for y'all. (For us, actually, since I'm Latino.) We've been completely willing--enthusiastic--participants, like turkeys voting for Christmas.

  • ||

    Er, Justin Trudeau told us it's because 2015.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLk2aSBrR6U

  • Ron||

    shit that scares me since i know the left will fawn all over her, she sounds more dangerous than Hillary when it comes to ignoring rights of the citizens

  • DiegoF||

    My (general, rather distant and uninformed) impression is that whereas California Democrats are a canary in the dystopian coal mine, a prescient nightmare of what the rest of the country could be in for, California Republicans are actually better than Republicans elsewhere. (To the extent that they exist, that is. And to the extent that they're not Klansmen or Birchers. Or Schwarzenegger. Or Bob Dornan. Which, I guess, is to say: Both of them are pretty cool.)

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It's bad enough we keep electing attorneys, but prosecutors is just asking for trouble. These people are generally the very worst actors in the criminal justice system.

  • Spartacus||

    I've said this before, but we need the Spartacus Rule: prosecutors may not run in any election for 10 years after leaving the office.

  • DiegoF||

    I wonder if Kamala Harris and Janet Reno will get to be roomies in the lowest circles of Hell. Also, I wonder if they wear clothes in Hell; I'm guessing from theological reasoning and Renaissance art probably not... Yeah...those two are definitely going to Hell, alright.
    .
    Pardon me, everyone; I'll be back in a few minutes.

  • ||

    There's no question Dante would find a spot for those two.

  • Longtobefree||

    No pardon for you; you spoke ill of a glorious prosecutor!

  • CE||

    You guys want another 4 years of Trump or something? Why bring up Harris' record? Who else the Dems got?

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    In a fair, un-hacked election, Harris beats Drumpf. She gets an absolute minimum of 300 electoral votes, and wins the popular vote by at least 2.5 percentage points.

  • DenverJ||

    Huh. You're still a moron, I see. Anybody who say the election was "hacked" doesn't know what hacked means, is completely stupid, and probably faps to pictures of old ladies in pants suits.

  • Libertymike||

    Hey, some old ladies in pant suits can cause one's briefs to bulge.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Hey, long time no see. Was wondering where you wandered to.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Is this fucktard commie kid or a new troll?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Oprah, bitch!

  • Hank Phillips||

    Kamala at least voted against Jeffery Beauregard Sessions... How did Randal Paul vote on the drug czar's bloodhound?

  • John C. Randolph||

    Willie Brown's whore is corrupt? Stop the presses!

    -jcr

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Would not have a beer with her.

  • WhereYou'reWrong||

    You know none of this matters to the Dems, right? As far as many of them are concerned, she's the great Black Female hope for President, and if they can't get Oprah, Harris is their girl. They don't care she's a corrupt, power hungry bee-otch any more than they cared about it concerning Hillary. (Of course, the Repubs didn't care about Trump's or Roy Moore's baggage, either.) Get ready to be told if you don't love Kamala you're obviously just a sexist bigot.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I wonder how effective that is. It might help at polls but I wonder about at the actual voting booth.

    So, expect the next step be is requiring people to identify themselves with their vote so as to shame them if they wrong.

  • WhereYou'reWrong||

    They'd be happy to try vote shaming (look at the progressive's love for card check voting for unions so they can eliminate secret ballots) but they've backed themselves into a corner by insisting that voter ID is racist.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    If Kamala came out as a lesbian twin-spirit otherkin, she could lay down the royal flush of identity politics poker.

  • John C. Randolph||

    If Kamala came out as a lesbian

    I don't know... Is Willie willing to get a sex change?

    -jcr

  • GeneralWeygand||

    Very nice. And you're right. The ROYAL of all Royal Flushes....

    Zod....

    She would be like an identity politics Galactus

  • Juice||

  • Juice||

    Shit. Just realized this is from 2014.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    That's so three years ago.

  • Sevo||

    Harris learned the political ropes as Willie Brown's 'escort', and AFAIK, there has never been a more bent politico in SF politics than Brown, and that is a low bar.
    She learned well; NOTHING this woman has ever done has ever been for a reason other than to promote her political gain. NOTHING.
    I'm sure she'd engage in buggery in the platz at noon if, by her political arithmetic, it would help her gain higher office. FDR was a 'publicly-spirited' pol by comparison.

  • jjsaz||

    Harris an excremental hack. Her prosecution of Backpage has led to the destruction of thousands of lives of sex workers who now must walk the streets or submit to pimps, all for her own political advantage.

  • Sevo||

    "Kamala Harris' Whorephobia Is Sadly No Surprise"
    [...]
    "It sucks to log onto social media and see everyone — including people you admire — celebrating someone or something you know directly or indirectly harms the people you love."
    https://theestablishment.co/
    kamala-harris-whorephobia-
    is-sadly-no-surprise-250e52ceb3bd

    Yeah, lefties 'admire' those who are more than happy to throw them in the clink for political gain, and the lefties continue to admire them.
    Sessions is a piece of shit who ought to be sent to the nearest retirement community, but then we had the wonnerful, 'I'll never lie to you except twice a day' Obo and his scumbag Holder. And the lefties hung on every word that Obo 'needed congress to legalize weed'.
    Sorry, but every lefty who supported that hogwash should go to jail to pay for such public ignorance.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I simultaneously agree with that article and hate it with all of my heart. This style of journalism that focuses almost solely on oneself is awful.

    Also, -phobia being successfully used as being equivalent to "dislike of" is also annoying and shrinks the realm of discussion.

  • John C. Randolph||

    I wonder how common it is for more expensive whores to shit on lower-priced whores.

    -jcr

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    To the woodchipper, lads. She really is a vile cunt.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Self-preservation at the expense of letting tainted cases persist. Indifference about the quality of evidence in prosecutions. Indifference and pushed continuation of a case with a fraudulent transcript. Complacency in the face of false statements of prosecutors.

    Sounds like a perfect fit for an "up and coming" Democrat or Republican.

  • AnnieGramsonHill||

    Not surprising, but still disheartening.
    Most people with a moral compass have no desire to be in the public arena.
    That cedes a lot of important ground to the more primitive members of society.
    This is one of the strongest arguments for getting money out of politics.
    It would make it possible to attract a higher caliber of person.
    I saw that segment on 60 Minutes that showed a phone room where House members were expected to spend at least two hours a day working the phones calling for money.
    Who in the hell wants to spend any time at all randomly calling people for money?

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