Thursday, 16 April 2015 13:54
Louisiana prosecutorial misconduct ranks as injustice reigns
 

kangaroo-courtby Jim Brown

Remember the scene in the movie, The Fugitive, where Harrison Ford is about to jump off a cliff into a raging river?  He turns to his pursuer, a federal agent played by Tommy Lee Jones, and says: “I’m innocent!”  Jones shakes his head and says: “I don’t care.”  In recent months, a series of investigative reports from across the Bayou State have concluded that numerous federal and state prosecutors are primarily interested in winning — getting the indictment, the guilty plea, the conviction. But when it comes to seeking justice, one could argue that many prosecutors just don’t seem to care.

 

 Legal observers across the nation have colluded that if you want to find the most egregious examples of wayward prosecutors who think nothing of hiding evidence that an accused is innocent, just go down to the deepest of the deep southern states.  Take a  look at a few of the national news stories about prosecutorial misconduct in Louisiana that have appeared nationally, just in the past few weeks. 

“The U.S Attorney commenting scandal in New Orleans gave us a poster child for misconduct and appalling behavior.”

The New Orleans Advocate (April 7, 2015) 

“New Orleans prosecutors-egregious instances of prosecutorial misconduct. These abuses did not simply stroke the line between lawful prosecutions and heavy handedness; in the words Justice John Paul Stevens, they were “blatant and repeated.”  The New York Times (April 13, 2015). 

The Untouchables: America’s Misbehaving Prosecutors, and the System that protects them. Nowhere is this ethos of impunity more apparent then in Louisiana.”   The Huffington Post  (April 10, 2015.) 

“Grotesque Department Of Justice Misconduct- In a shocking case of “grotesque” misconduct by federal prosecutors, a federal judge in Louisiana ha ordered a new trial…”  National Review (April 13, 2015) 

“Whole System is Fatally Flawed-Justice is subverted so many times for the will-for the winning.  Everyone wants to win, so the ends justify the means.”  Former Prosecutor A.M. “Marty” Stroud.  Shreveport Times  (April 4th, 2015) 

In Louisiana Prosecutor Offices, a toxic culture of death and invincibility. – The ongoing problem of prosecutor misconduct, using Louisiana as the poster child to explain why even egregious misconduct not only isn’t punished but also is often incentivized” The Washington Post-April 8, 2015. 

Now these articles listed are just about Louisiana. Take a moment to Google “prosecutorial Misconduct,” and check out the reams of news reports on this alarming subject from across the nation. 

Shakespeare proposed killing all the lawyers. But numerous lawyer prosecutors have made it a habit of killing any semblance of fair play.  Too often, there is a “win at all costs” mentality where the end justifies whatever means a prosecutor decides to use to obtain a conviction.  Efforts are often not made to seek justice, which is what the criminal justice system is supposed to be all about.  Justice is swept aside when a prosecutorial “no holds barred” effort is pursued to get a conviction at any cost. 

One of the more recent misconduct soap operas involves the New Orleans U.S. Attorney’s office where, at the time, the longest serving federal prosecutor in the country, Jim Letten, resigned amid a scandal involving a whole host of his staff.  A federal judge issued a scathing 50-page order alleging possible criminal misconduct by former federal prosecutor Sal Perricone and former first Assistant U.S. Attorney Jan Mann.  The judge singled out Perricone for testifying  “falsely” in his courtroom, and called for the New Orleans U.S Attorney’s office to be investigated by the Justice Department. Perricone and Mann both resigned under a cloud of suspicion along with Mann’s husband, Jim Mann. 

Do these prosecutors who break the law act in an evil way?  Or do they just not care?  This exemplifies, in most instances, the prototype of those who bend the law and hide exculpatory evidence to get a conviction.  They may not be evil, but they are indifferent.  The end justifies the means.  They just don’t care about the meaning of our Constitution.  If government crimes are not checked for the few, then we all are at risk.  Prosecutors who lie and cover up should be disbarred and prosecuted themselves.  Otherwise, there is no integrity in the system. 

*******

 

“American prosecutors over the years have shown an ugly side that is antithetical to justice, and they even have a very dark saying: "Any prosecutor can convict a guilty man. It takes a GREAT prosecutor to convict an innocent man."

William Anderson

 

Peace and Justice

 

Jim Brown

 

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide.  You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am, central time, on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at http://www.jimbrownusa.com.

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