This story is bizarre, but it’s not all that unusual: Prosecutors can prosecute even the weakest, most clearly flawed cases relentlessly, and innocent people can end up in jail. This week, after two and a half years in prison, Mark Weiner saw his conviction vacated. It finally ended a saga in which Weiner was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to eight years in jail on charges of abducting a woman with the intent to sexually harm her.
Source: Mark Weiner conviction vacated: Chelsea Steiniger text case finally overturned.
I know I am a pest because i keep repeating the same song over and over, but it is unfortunately very true. A man’s life was ruined because a derelict prosecutor created a case where none existed.
And I don’t know if it had any bearing, but I would not be surprised if it did.
The Albemarle County prosecutor, who is elected to the post, is currently Commonwealth’s Attorney Denise Lunsford.
Go read the article. It will scare you worse than seeing grandma naked.
6 thoughts on “Because Prosecutor’s misconduct never happens.”
It is true, and it happens every day, all over the country! Dammit…
I have come to the conclusion that this is one of the prime ways in which our justice system is flawed. It is not unpatriotic to say that, our justice system was created by humans, and nothing created by humans is flawless.
I do not believe that prosecutor should be a job. Why? Because it tempts injustice. People want to be promoted, they want to make more money. Getting promoted, making more money, often requires that, that person be good at their job. The job of the prosecutor is to put people in prison. It is the job of the defense attorney to keep people out of prison. Justice (ideally) is the product of the system of the prosecutor and the defense attorney going head to head.
In the end, this means that there are people who’s income and career is based on sending people to jail. And so cases like this are an example of a prosecutor more interested in putting someone in jail to look good than to actually serve justice. The article refers to tunnel vision, but never states what was the cause of the blindness. The prosecutor was far more interested in a big win on a high profile case than justice.
My proposed fix for this is to adopt and feature of the British court system. Abolish the prosecutors office. Have all attorneys in private practice. The state then randomly selects local attorneys to be the prosecutor in a specific case which gets added to their docket along with the rest of their case load. For this service they are paid some hourly wage determined by the state, which is the same for every attorney serving the state’s interest. This way, no attorney can make a career as a prosecutor. It is a term they serve, like the rest of us serve jury duty. There is far less personal stake involved.
I might even go so far as to suggest abolishing the public defenders office and doing the same as above and randomly assigning attorneys in private practice to handle defense work for a random poor client on case by case basis.
Does this make the system perfect. No, of course not. But I think it is a step in the direction of taking some of the personal biases out of the system.
From the American Bar Association, Criminal Justice section on Standards for the Prosecutor:
The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict.
“The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict.”
And if you believe that, jackasses fly.
Prosecutorial misconduct is not limited to party either. The current governor of New Mexico, the “great hispanic female hope” of the Republican party, one Susanna Martinez, was previously the district attorney for Dona Ana County, New Mexico, where I witnessed her railroad an old friend of mine. The charge? Felony child abuse resulting in injury to a child. My friend was duly convicted and sentenced to 20 years in jail.
The entire case was dismissed “with prejudice” on appeal. Seems she had managed to suppress the fact the child had suffered a seizure as a result of a pre-existing condition, which the kid’s father also had, denied my friend the right to legal representation until after he’d signed a confession written for him by her office, badgered him for something like 48 hours without letting him sleep until he’d sign the confession, and excluded any and all other witnesses and evidence that would exonerate him in the slightest. The appeals court found massive prosecutorial misconduct, but they found zero evidence that any crime was ever committed by the accused (lots of crimes committed by the police and district attorney’s office, though), voided the conviction, and wrote their decision in such a manner that it is legally impossible to try him again. It was THAT bad.
And now she’s governor. Yeah, there’s a reason things really haven’t changed at all since “King” Richardson.
I’ll support Mitt Romney or John McCain in another failed bid before I ever support Susanna Martinez.
It’s made worse by the principle that they have absolute immunity for anything official they do. That’s a court made principle. We need to pass laws to overturn that fact.
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