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Hullabaloo


Sunday, March 09, 2014

 
Prosecutors balk at being told they have to be honest

by digby

Radley Balko has posted a piece about the courts starting to make note of the fact that many prosecutors are crooked, incompetent, and/or dishonest. He quotes a South Carolina Supreme Court justice:
“The court will no longer overlook unethical conduct, such as witness tampering, selective and retaliatory prosecutions, perjury and suppression of evidence. You better follow the rules or we are coming after you and will make an example. The pendulum has been swinging in the wrong direction for too long and now it’s going in the other direction. Your bar licenses will be in jeopardy. We will take your license.”
Apparently, the prosecutors don't care for this sort of talk. Balko writes:
You’d think that there’s little here with which a conscientious prosecutor could quarrel. At most, a prosecutor might argue that Beatty exaggerated the extent of misconduct in South Carolina. (I don’t know if that’s true, only that that’s a conceivable response.) But that prosecutors shouldn’t suborn perjury, shouldn’t retaliate against political opponents, shouldn’t suppress evidence, and that those who do should be disciplined — these don’t seem like controversial things to say. If most prosecutors are following the rules, you’d think they’d have little to fear, and in fact would want their rogue colleagues identified and sanctioned.

The state’s prosecutors didn’t see that way.
No, they didn't.
[The main prosecutor singled out in the judges comments] accused him of bias and sent a letter asking him to recuse himself from criminal cases that come out of her district. In one sense, Wilson is unquestionably correct. Beatty is biased. He’s clearly biased against prosecutors who commit misconduct. But that’s a bias you probably want in a judge, particularly one that sits on a state supreme court. It’s also a bias that isn’t nearly common enough in judges. (Not only do most judges not name misbehaving prosecutors in public, they won’t even name them in court opinions.)

Other prosecutors around the state jumped on, and now at least 13 of the head prosecutors in the state’s 16 judicial districts, along with South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, are asking for Beatty’s to be recused from criminal cases. This would presumably end his career as a state supreme court justice.
They are saying that if you think prosecutors should be honest you are biased against prosecutors. Which may actually be true, since so many of them are dishonest.

This is our justice system in 2014.

Read the whole thing. We have a serious problem with our justice system. And I doubt if anyone cares. After all, in America, honesty is for chumps.

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