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Report: Prosecutorial Misconduct Often Unpunished in California

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Posted: October 5, 2010   6:32 PM

Judges in California are “casting a blind eye to prosecutors who place their thumbs on the scale of justice,” according to a report released yesterday by the Veritas Initiative, a new investigative arm at the Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara University Law School.

The report, “Preventable Error: A Report on Prosecutorial Misconduct in California 1997–2009,” examined 707 cases in which courts had found prosecutorial misconduct in the 11 year period. Of all of those cases, only six prosecutors were disciplined.

Maurice Possley, an award-winning journalist who worked on the study by the Northern California Innocence Project, told the Los Angeles Times, “Prosecutors aren’t held accountable. Absent that, why should they change their habits?" The misconduct covered in the report ranged from failing to turn over evidence to presenting false evidence in court.  As a response to their research, the Northern California Innocence Project is calling for legal reforms requiring courts to report all findings of misconduct to the state bar, which they currently are not required to do.  When a court decides the misconduct was harmless, those cases often go unreported.

Read the full article.

Read Preventable Error: A Report on Prosecutorial Misconduct in California 1997–2009.

Read last month’s USA TODAY story on prosecutorial misconduct.

Learn about government misconduct and wrongful conviction.

Read the Innocence Project’s report on prosecutorial misconduct and wrongful conviction.
Diane Dalbey says:
Aug 10, 2015 03:02 PM

Prosecutors have to much power, and in my case the defendant was more important to the prosecutor, than the victim. The prosecutor even admitted to violating my victims rights, but no action or discipline come to those who violate a victims right. I'm told there is no remedy. Because this man was facing 9 years in prison he turned informant, and was not charged for the two assaults on myself, leaving my head having to be stapled closed. I was never involved in the case, and penal code section 1192.7 prohibits a prosecutor from giving a defendant a plea agreement, but the video wasn't used, and I have the e-mail to the lead officer in the case, that proves no one got the video tape. So prosecutors number one target are crime victims, as their defendants may be facing a long prison sentenace, or strikes, and they know people who are into the drug scene, or other criminal activity.

j.enriquez says:
Feb 05, 2016 02:24 PM

I truly believe that in Tulare County a lot of injustice is happening. I sat in on a trail where an innocent person was sentence for a murder he did not commit.
the Prosecutor key witness was the Real Killer, but the DA made a deal with this guy not to prosecute him in this trial. So they had to blame it on someone. So the innocent guy got blame.

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