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Thread: Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison

  1. #31
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    Re: Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison

    Quote Originally Posted by Paschendale View Post
    I think you're confusing prosecutors and detectives. There should certainly be more demand on the DA's office to raise the threshold on which cases to try, and certainly punish prosecutors who conceal evidence or violate procedure. And if a prosecutor has doubts, must be absolutely free to express them. But when presented with a reasonable case, the prosecutor must zealously pursue it. We don't (and couldn't) require defense attorneys to make a judgment call about their clients and only defend the innocent ones. We cannot require that of prosecutors.
    I I see it differently. The prosecutor should present all the facts, not twist twist them to get a win.
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  2. #32
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    Re: Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison

    Quote Originally Posted by Kreton View Post
    I I see it differently. The prosecutor should present all the facts, not twist twist them to get a win.
    Define "all" the facts. Suppose we're talking about a robbery. How exactly is the prosecutor supposed to know if the weather that day is a relevant fact? If the defense thinks it's important, then the defense should bring it up. It's not the job of the prosecutor to be a neutral arbiter. That's the judge. Too many judges, I think, are more interested in punishing people than in justice or helping society, though. But the burden you want to put on one side of the court and not the other... it's too much.
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  3. #33
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    Re: Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison

    Quote Originally Posted by Paschendale View Post
    Define "all" the facts. Suppose we're talking about a robbery. How exactly is the prosecutor supposed to know if the weather that day is a relevant fact? If the defense thinks it's important, then the defense should bring it up. It's not the job of the prosecutor to be a neutral arbiter. That's the judge. Too many judges, I think, are more interested in punishing people than in justice or helping society, though. But the burden you want to put on one side of the court and not the other... it's too much.
    No I am not putting the burden more on one side. I just happen to be talking about prosecution side since that what this story is about. I have just as many gripes about the defense and judges.
    “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
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  4. #34
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    Re: Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison

    Quote Originally Posted by Paschendale View Post
    Define "all" the facts. Suppose we're talking about a robbery. How exactly is the prosecutor supposed to know if the weather that day is a relevant fact? If the defense thinks it's important, then the defense should bring it up. It's not the job of the prosecutor to be a neutral arbiter. That's the judge. Too many judges, I think, are more interested in punishing people than in justice or helping society, though. But the burden you want to put on one side of the court and not the other... it's too much.
    In my opinion, you just made the case for what I have been advocating for several years: Open Discovery.

    In other words, the prosecution... and the defense... share EVERYTHING. One side or the other cannot bring up a point if they don't know about said point. If we as a society are honest in our claims of seeking truth and real justice, then we share all evidence and let each side pick which evidence best suits their case.
    If you claim sexual harassment to be wrong, yet you defend anyone on your side for any reason,
    then you are a hypocrite and everything you say on the matter is just babble.

  5. #35
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    Re: Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison

    Quote Originally Posted by Hard Truth View Post
    Only in theory, not in practice.

    "A former Texas district attorney agreed Friday to serve 10 days in jail for withholding evidence that could have stopped an innocent man from going to prison for nearly 25 years — apparently the first time a prosecutor has been sent to jail for concealing evidence helpful to the defense.

    Former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson agreed to a plea deal that will also require him to pay a $500 fine and complete 500 hours of community service after state District Judge Kelly Moore found him in contempt of court for telling a trial judge in 1987 that he had no exculpatory evidence to hand over to lawyers for Michael Morton, whose conviction in his wife's death was overturned in 2011.

    Charges of tampering with evidence — which could have meant 10 years in prison — were dropped as part of the deal, under which Anderson will be disbarred........
    Gerald Goldstein, an attorney for the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal clinic affiliated with the Yeshiva University Law School, said Anderson's sentence, however brief, was precedent-shattering.

    "This is the first time in the country's history that a prosecutor has been found guilty of criminal contempt, will go to jail and be stripped of their law license," Goldstein told NBC station KXAN of Austin.

    Pete Williams of NBC News contributed to this report.

    Watch US News crime videos on NBCNews.com
    First published November 8th 2013, 4:50 pm

    Note that the guilty DA got 10 days in jail, the innocent defendant served about 24 years in prison.
    I did say the offending attorney would be disbarred or jailed. He was both (though obviously not equitable to the harm he caused). I would imagine the civil suit against him would be massive.

  6. #36
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    Re: Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    In my opinion, you just made the case for what I have been advocating for several years: Open Discovery.

    In other words, the prosecution... and the defense... share EVERYTHING. One side or the other cannot bring up a point if they don't know about said point. If we as a society are honest in our claims of seeking truth and real justice, then we share all evidence and let each side pick which evidence best suits their case.
    That's pretty much what we do now. It's a little more complicated than that, but that's generally what we strive for. The only caveat is that a side shouldn't have to sabotage themselves. Should a defense attorney have to tell the prosecution the flaw in their alibi? Should either side of a civil case have to turn over information that can be used to attack the credibility of their witnesses? I think it's unreasonable to expect prosecutors to adhere to such a different standard than everyone else.
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    Re: Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison

    Quote Originally Posted by Paschendale View Post
    That's pretty much what we do now. It's a little more complicated than that, but that's generally what we strive for. The only caveat is that a side shouldn't have to sabotage themselves. Should a defense attorney have to tell the prosecution the flaw in their alibi? Should either side of a civil case have to turn over information that can be used to attack the credibility of their witnesses? I think it's unreasonable to expect prosecutors to adhere to such a different standard than everyone else.
    Is the goal to find the truth, or to win?

    The standard should apply to the defense, as well, btw.
    If you claim sexual harassment to be wrong, yet you defend anyone on your side for any reason,
    then you are a hypocrite and everything you say on the matter is just babble.

  8. #38
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    Re: Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Is the goal to find the truth, or to win?

    The standard should apply to the defense, as well, btw.
    So a defendant shouldn't be able to have a defense if their attorney thinks they're guilty? The goal is to win. That's how an adversarial system works. Each side argues as best it can, and an impartial arbiter (a jury) decides who is right. The changes that you want mean having some other kind of system. If that's what you want, say that. But proposing a completely crippled adversarial system won't help anyone. It would be a mess.

    If you're talking about oversight to make sure that prosecutors can't conceal evidence, that judges and juries aren't biased in favor of conviction, that's great. We should have that. But we shouldn't cripple the adversarial system. Replace it with something else if you want, but don't simply make it not work.
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  9. #39
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    Re: Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison

    Quote Originally Posted by Paschendale View Post
    So a defendant shouldn't be able to have a defense if their attorney thinks they're guilty? The goal is to win. That's how an adversarial system works. Each side argues as best it can, and an impartial arbiter (a jury) decides who is right. The changes that you want mean having some other kind of system. If that's what you want, say that. But proposing a completely crippled adversarial system won't help anyone. It would be a mess.

    If you're talking about oversight to make sure that prosecutors can't conceal evidence, that judges and juries aren't biased in favor of conviction, that's great. We should have that. But we shouldn't cripple the adversarial system. Replace it with something else if you want, but don't simply make it not work.
    I question whether the adversarial system works well for us as a society as a whole. In its present form, of course. And yes, each side wants to win. But, "the system" should be wholly unconcerned with who wins and any adversarial aspects. "The system" should be about finding the truth. Period. Each side can still work as adversaries within that framework.

    When it comes to a physical piece of evidence, for example, the prosecutor's opinion as to whether or not it would benefit the defense, and thus handed over (per current law), should be irrelevant. We've seen way too many instances where they say they didn't think it would be beneficial, then hide behind their immunity when called out. Eff that. Hand it over. The defense is the best to know whether or not it is helpful to them, or not.
    If you claim sexual harassment to be wrong, yet you defend anyone on your side for any reason,
    then you are a hypocrite and everything you say on the matter is just babble.

  10. #40
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    Re: Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    I question whether the adversarial system works well for us as a society as a whole. In its present form, of course. And yes, each side wants to win. But, "the system" should be wholly unconcerned with who wins and any adversarial aspects. "The system" should be about finding the truth. Period. Each side can still work as adversaries within that framework.

    When it comes to a physical piece of evidence, for example, the prosecutor's opinion as to whether or not it would benefit the defense, and thus handed over (per current law), should be irrelevant. We've seen way too many instances where they say they didn't think it would be beneficial, then hide behind their immunity when called out. Eff that. Hand it over. The defense is the best to know whether or not it is helpful to them, or not.
    So really what you want is a small and reasonable change to existing evidence laws and discovery. That's fine. Prosecutors should not be immune from penalties for misconduct, and the defense should have all the available information. I'm curious about these "too many instances", though. Do you have examples? In the case in the OP, the prosecutor was breaking the rules. They aren't supposed to keep secrets from the defense.
    Liberté. Égalité. Fraternité.

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