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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Feige on Nifong, Prosecutorial Misconduct & Attorney Discipline

I caught an interesting piece on Slate this morning, “One-Off Offing,” written by David Feige, whom I met during our days as public defenders in the Bronx. David writes about Mike Nifong’s disbarment following the Duke rape case debacle, and argues that “you won’t see a disbarment like Mike NiFong’s again,” because “it is tempting to chalk the whole incident up to an unusual and terrible mistake — a zany allegation taken too seriously by a run-amok prosecutor.” In reality, David opines, “[p]rosecutors almost never face public censure or disbarment for their actions,” and “the [Duke case] drama leaves prosecutorial misconduct commonplace, unseen, uncorrected, and unpunished.”

David writes a sharp, insightful piece, and I don’t dispute his points that prosecutorial misconduct happens too often and that the legal profession has been unfortunately disinclined to treat even serious instances of prosecutorial misconduct as a disciplinary issue. But, I think David may overstate his case for prosecutorial misconduct in a way that undercuts the strength of his overall position.

David’s Slate piece may convey the impression to many readers that shady practice is the cultural norm for many if not most prosecutors — an impression consistent with the impression he often coveys of the criminal justice system as a whole on his blog, Indefensible, and in his identically-titled book describing his practice experience in the Bronx. David acknowledges in his Slate piece that that “[h]ow often [misconduct] actually happens is hard to say,” but he suggests that “in the rollicking back and forth of a normal state trial, it is a rare case in which problems involving the withholding of potentially exculpatory evidence (as Nifong was accused of doing) don’t arise.”

I practiced from 1994-2005 as a public defender in the Bronx and Manhattan, where David practiced too, and I simply have a different big-picture impression of prosecutors. Prosecutors are asked to strike a pretty tough balance: vigorously advocate against the guilty, but remain objective and even non-committal too, so as not to overlook evidence of innocence or mitigation. I have thought that some defense attorneys too easily criticize how most prosecutors conscientiously endeavor to strike this balance that the defense bar itself is not asked to replicate. In my experience, most prosecutors work very hard to achieve a fair balance, and generally do a pretty good job at it — even in the many cases where I disagreed in some way with a prosecutor’s decision of how to handle a client’s case. I just don’t recall too many prosecutors who wouldn’t listen to what I had to say, wouldn't think hard about their cases, or who wouldn't share exculpatory evidence. In other words, I haven't met too many prosecutors who acted anything like Nifong.

When a mistake or oversight did happen, it was generally just that — a mistake or oversight. No doubt, lawyer mistakes and oversights can harm people seriously, especially in a criminal case, and better training and and a more balanced culture in some prosecutors' offices surely would help to prevent mistakes. But, when mistakes happened in my cases, my client’s interests generally were remedied by the relief David himself indicates courts will grant in these circumstances: defense adjournments, evidentiary sanctions, and judicial reprimands (for a good example of a judicial reprimand of a prosecutor who was not mistaken but played "fast and loose" with her evidence, see here). Of course some mistakes, even if unintentional, demonstrate the sort of ethical shortcomings worthy of disciplinary action. But all lawyers make mistakes, including defense attorneys — indeed, I've seen more defendants harmed by shoddy defense work than by prosecutorial misconduct — and not all lawyer mistakes equate with ethical misconduct, even when committed by a prosecutor. 

Perhaps the problem is that David never defines what he means by “prosecutorial misconduct.” Nifong’s an easy example of it. David, however, seems to suggest that an aggressive prosecutor who doesn’t take defense evidence at face value, and who even acts like an outcome-interested advocate, may “cross the line separating fair play from systemic manipulation.” David even appears to imply that a prosecutor who proceeds with a sexual assault case by taking a “complainant at her word” without “wait[ing] for corroborating evidence or insist[ing] on more than one person’s say” has engaged in “questionable practice.” If David merely means here that prosecutors in sexual assault bureaus and elsewhere should not become closed-minded, agenda-driven, or too personally invested in their cases and witnesses, fine — but that’s how most prosecutors act already. If David instead means to define prosecutorial misconduct as broadly as his piece suggests, I think he does his stronger point a disservice through oversell.

Don’t get me wrong: serious prosecutorial misconduct happens, as Nifong's actions demonstrate. And, the prosecutors who do abuse their position too rarely are called to the mat for it by Bar disciplinary committees. David does a service by highlighting these concerns, just as he has highlighted many other serious problems in our criminal justice system. But I think David casts too wide a net if he suggests that our criminal courthouses are filled with Mike Nifongs and Nancy Graces running amok without disciplinary oversight.

Posted by Brooks Holland on June 20, 2007 at 03:15 PM in Criminal Law | Permalink

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For my previous roundup, go here. New for today, there is: TalkLeft posts Judge Suspends DA Mike Nifong Immediately. Professor Brooks Holland at PrawfsBlawg posts Feige on Nifong, Prosecutorial Misconduct Attorney Discipline. Here's a bit of that post:... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 20, 2007 10:38:59 PM

Comments

Brooks,

The more Nifong, the better! This is the great thing about having a bunch of former defenders posting simultaneously on the blog--it increases the richness and complexity of the discussion.

Posted by: Laura | Jun 20, 2007 3:29:24 PM

Are you sure the link above is for the Feige piece you are discussing in this blog???

The Feige piece which the link goes to is one in which Feige does not make any broad sweeping statements about prosecutors in the system today, as your blog seems to indicate. In fact he explicitly says “How often this actually happens is hard to say.” However, the reason I am almost positive your link goes to the wrong piece is because you state:

“David even appears to imply that a prosecutor who proceeds with a sexual assault case by taking a “complainant at her word” without “wait[ing] for corroborating evidence or insist[ing] on more than one person’s say” has engaged in “questionable practice.”

Feige, however, appears to be calling prosecutors who take “even a semi-credible” “in the absence of physical evidence, additional witnesses, or even a prompt accusation” “generat[ing] arrest and prosecution” as engaging “questionable practice.”

Does it not seem to be a questionable practice to have someone arrested and subsequently prosecuted on the basis of one statement from one person made days, weeks, or even months after the alleged crime took place?

The Feige piece I read is not about an epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct facing this country, rather it is about the epidemic which has been plaguing our legal system for years: the socio-economic class divide. As Feige points out from the start, but for the legal defense team of the Duke lacrosse players would anyone have ever known about Nifongs misconduct? Who knows.

As many public defenders offices are over worked and underpaid, it seems likely, as Feige is trying to point out, that if someone does not have the money to hire the $3M+ legal team the Duke boys had they may never know of potentially exculpatory evidence. Undoubtedly you were a “zealous” or “diligent” public defender back in New York, but I have to wonder how you actually know that you never met a prosecutor “who wouldn't share exculpatory evidence.”

As you point out- serious prosecutorial misconduct happens- as Feige points out- we rarely find out about it and when we do it is all too often the result of a very well paid legal defense team. Whether you believe he exaggerates or not, it seems difficult to believe such exaggeration could do a disservice to his stronger point of promoting justice and fair prosecution for everyone.

Posted by: DMG | Jun 20, 2007 6:53:11 PM

DMG:

Good points, and you may articulate Feige’s position more fairly than I did, although you also may read too much criticism of Feige’s substantive points into my own comments. I think Feige makes important and largely accurate observations about the criminal justice system, such as his observations here and elsewhere about the racial and socio-economic divides in criminal justice, and I did not question these points in my post. But sometimes Feige does make his points without the objectivity or civility that might lend greater credibility to his observations. I occasionally am left with a “true believer” vibe — a term he has used himself to describe his vision of defense practice. See Robin Steinberg & David Feige, Cultural Revolution: Transforming the Public Defender's Office, 29 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 123, 125 (2004). I had a bout of that feeling here.

A few comments in response to your specific points:

(1) I began my comments by noting that Feige acknowledges that he doesn’t know how often prosecutorial misconduct happens. But you seem to leave out Feige’s additional assertions: “it is a rare case in which problems involving the withholding of potentially exculpatory evidence (as Nifong was accused of doing) don’t arise,” and that prosecutorial misconduct is "commonplace." Those are pretty sweeping, and I believe overstated, assertions that I think undermine the weight of his bigger point, with which I expressly agreed.

(2) I noted that I was unsure what Feige meant by a couple of points, such as his comment about the “questionable practice” of pursuing sexual assault prosecutions based only on a complainant’s “word” without “insist[ing]” on corroborating evidence. I wrote that if David merely meant that prosecutors should not become so blinded by one view of any kind of case that they ignore or hide credibility problems or other exculpatory evidence, I was right there with him, and you. “Semi-credible” should raise red flags for a prosecutor. But, if he meant, as you wrote, that a prosecutor should not pursue a sexual assault prosecution “on the basis of one statement from one person made days, weeks, or even months after the alleged crime,” we may part ways. The criminal law traditionally has not required this kind of corroboration in other cases, and to expect this credibility corroboration in sexual assault cases apart from what we expect in other cases would return us to an unfortunate anachronism in the criminal law. The one-witness issues you highlight, without more, generally are a question for the jury that good defense attorneys effectively will explore. I emphasize — *without more*. Nifong pretty clearly ran into that *more* at several points and ignored it. I agreed with Feige that prosecutors who engage in comparable misconduct should have to answer to their disciplinary committees, which rarely happens, and that Nifong’s case probably won’t do much to change things in this regard.

(3) I did not write that I “never” met a prosecutor who wouldn’t share exculpatory evidence. I’m sure I did, and I have a few specific suspicions of who they were, in fact. I only wrote that “I do not recall too many prosecutors” who didn’t do their job on the up and up, contrary to the impression that I felt — perhaps inaccurately — Feige’s piece conveyed.

Thanks for the feedback!

Posted by: Brooks | Jun 20, 2007 7:46:43 PM

prosecutors knowingly with hold evidence, refuse to see to full discovery, knowingly suborn perjury & are pathologically sick. Dirty prosecutors make even dirtied judge & there is no oversight not accountability

Posted by: Pete | Jun 20, 2007 11:49:53 PM

I am reminded of a criticism leveled at an author I like. The criticism goes that he defended socially unacceptable practices through allegory involving unrealistically capable and self-aware characters. In a perfect world he might be right, or so went the argument. I would argue that we are placing an unrealistically high expectation on prosecutors. To paraphrase former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, people, no matter how well credentialed, are generally incompetent. As much as we might like to think of ourselves as just and reasonable people, we run good odds of being wrong. I would expect a prosecutor to fall short of the ideal in every respect. I expect the same of judges, defense attorneys, congressmen, and corporate CEOs, to say nothing of car mechanics, home improvement contractors, and teachers. It is therefore an exercise in wasted breath to pine for a world where all men are supermen and only the guilty go to prison. Simply instituting bureaucracy to investigate and punish misconduct merely begs the question: who guards the guards? If you removed all the incompetents and the morally unsuitable, I doubt you would have many guards left at all.

Many of you readers are, I presume, law school professors. There was a recent post on an old topic on this board just recently. The topic was marketability in law school faculty hiring. It seemed consensus that professional responsibility and legal ethics were extremely unpopular courses among professors. But if the professors don't care, or aren't capable, what leadership and example are the students supposed to draw from?

Posted by: student | Jun 21, 2007 12:31:20 PM

In his recent Slate piece “One-Off Offing,” David Feige puts forth sweeping condemnations of prosecutors as part of his overall indictment of the criminal justice system. His main fear seems to be that what happened in Durham will only be viewed as an anomaly when it is truly a “commonplace” occurrence. As an anomaly the Duke case will not, therefore, serve to deter any of the many rogue prosecutors from continuing their roguish behavior.

But are we prosecutors so commonly committing such misconduct?

I have been a prosecutor for 13 years. From 1994 -2004 I was an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx and am now a prosecutor in California. In the Bronx District Attorney’s Office I handled a great deal of sex crimes cases, was a supervisor in the unit that handled those cases, and take great pride in the work we did there. I knew David then, and even keep up sporadic correspondence with him now. We have had discussions about the criminal justice system and naturally we agree at times and not at others. As it turns out, I make an appearance in his book “Indefensible” as one of the rare prosecutors that David holds in high regard. It looks like once again, David and I will have to agree to disagree.

The nature of David’s claims make it very difficult to effectively dispute. If such misconduct is truly as common as he thinks, and also as “unseen” as he thinks, then for me to go on to argue that it isn’t happening only invites the response that I am just not seeing it. Similarly, it does no good for me to cite to studies or statistics. First of all, I am unaware of any study that points to the number of cases where there was no misconduct. It might be tempting, yet unconvincing, to merely cite to the studies David relies on and say that all of the other cases were prosecuted without any misconduct. But this is really just arguing about what is half-full or half-empty. And still, David’s point is that the misconduct is never detected, thus even statistics would be unconvincing. What David is truly relying upon I think, is his own experiences and the shared experiences of his colleagues. I am left with the same, my own testimonial regarding my own experiences with the hopes that readers will find me credible.

But perhaps I can draw some credibility from David himself. As he writes about me in his book, “Indefensible,” “[h]e has a stellar reputation with the defense bar and (perhaps surprisingly) within his own office, which has promoted him steadily into the supervisory ranks.” (pg. 191). The surprise David feels about my advancement in the Bronx DA’s office is particularly relevant here. If, as David says, that prosecutorial misconduct is part of the “culture of their offices,” then how can he explain my advancement in my office? He can’t reconcile this because it is not consistent with his view that DA’s offices foster a culture of misconduct. The true answer is that my advancement was the result of a culture that prized prosecutors who understood the nature of our position, who could effectively strike that “tough balance” that Brooks Holland describes above, and who could teach others to do the same.

The culture of my former office was nothing like what David describes. My first assignment, like most of the brand new ADAs there, was to the Criminal Court Bureau. The goal there was to handle the gamut of general misdemeanor cases while learning the skills and perspective needed to be a good prosecutor. Trials were encouraged, but never at the expense of justice. As the Chief of the Bureau once told me, “we don’t care if you win; we just want you to learn.” This was good news, and a relief, since winning was not common for most young ADAs.

I later was assigned/promoted to the Domestic Violence/Sex Crimes Bureau (DVS) – the Bureau that takes the brunt of most of David’s criticisms in his book. Again, I find his descriptions of my former Bureau completely inaccurate and inconsistent with even his own experiences.

In 2001 I became a supervisor in DVS and can speak to the training and culture of our operation. We took our jobs seriously, and doing the ‘right thing’ was paramount. Although David holds me in high regard, he must consider me to be the worst supervisor ever to have completely failed in conveying to the junior prosecutors the value of having the proper perspective and in being a well-balanced, fair and objective prosecutor. For the ADAs in my unit to be as unethical as he describes, they must have rejected all that they were taught by their superiors. But this is simply not the case. Not only do I know this from my own experiences, but David knows this too. In “Indefensible,” David describes a situation with a defendant he calls “Dreads” who is being unjustly jailed by the court. As he tells the story, I got called by one of the junior ADAs in court. Why did I get called? Because the junior ADA also sensed the injustice that David felt, and called me for further guidance as the supervisor. It was the good sense of the junior ADA that achieved this result, not any special action by me.

Knowing the background of the Bronx DA’s office, the personalities involved, and David Feige too, cause me to be even further perplexed by David’s sweepingly negative generalizations about prosecutors, especially those involved in sex crimes prosecutions. The Chief of the DVS Bureau at the time is someone I know David also holds in very high regard. Again, she too must have been completely ineffectual in teaching those she supervised (including me) how to be a fair prosecutor, if David’s beliefs are true. I would note that recently, that Chief was honored for her instrumental role in working with the Innocence Project to free a man wrongfully convicted for a sex crime due to misidentification. She was a role model to me, and is a role model and leader to an entire Bureau of sex crimes prosecutors. David knows how good she is, and yet cannot explain how those under her supervision could possibly be so unethical to deserve the criticism he heaps upon all of us.

The Bronx District Attorney himself is no different. He has said that he does not consider winning cases to be all important – just that we do our jobs fairly and justice is served. He has even recognized merit to ADAs who lost their trials, but worked admirably in doing so. No surprise, given that he got his start as a public defender in the Legal Aid Society. It is difficult for me to understand where David can support his notions about the culture of DAs offices, when the leadership in my former office explicitly taught us exactly the opposite of what he assumes.

Perhaps I’ve gone too far in my glowing regard for my former office. Not everyone is perfect and I cannot dispute that there are bad prosecutors, some very bad. But to say that our culture fosters such misconduct is completely unfair. I share my reflections about the Bronx DA’s office to show that the culture from the top down was one that valued fairness and objectivity. David doesn’t see this side, and unfortunately prefers to continually present only the one side he does see. Of course, this is what a good defense attorney does, zealously advocate his side. But when it comes to making such negative allegations about another profession or class of people, one must act like a good prosecutor and have balance. Otherwise, it is just more unfairness.

In essence, he criticizes prosecutors for being too much like him. This is not hypocrisy, however, because if we were in fact just like him we would not be doing our jobs. He is not duty bound to see another side or achieve balance, he is not duty bound to seek justice, redress harm, or seek a safe society while at the same time protecting individual rights. Prosecutors have this duty, and it is not an easy task.

I’m pleased to see that Brooks Holland does not share David Feige’s views. I know Brooks very well, and he was a strong advocate in the Bronx. In the interest of full disclosure, Brooks and I are close friends having first met as classmates in Law School. This has no bearing on my opinions of course. Brooks’ style was different than David’s and arguably more effective. Brooks combined legal talent and advocacy with a keen sense of knowing how to communicate credibly with the courts and the prosecutors. In doing so, I do not think he ever sacrificed anything in his representation of his clients. David is different, as is plainly obvious. Though David certainly served his clients well, David was not well received by the courts nor by prosecutors, and through his aggressive style and forceful arguments he tended to offend. This is exactly the point that Brooks is making – by overstating his points David loses the high ground. I do not mean to make this a personal matter between David and Brooks, as I am a sure it is not. It is just interesting to know these two attorneys so well, and see the two different styles of advocacy.

I always believed that David did truly believe what he was arguing, as I do now. And for that reason, I’ve never been offended by his ways. But when he makes so overwhelmingly broad and unfair attacks on the profession and people I am so proud of, I cannot just let it go.

Perhaps the explanation for David’s frustration lies somewhere in the comments of the “student” blogger above. Law students today are rarely trained to do what Prosecutors are duty-bound to do. The Bronx DA’s office is a big place, and every fall somewhere between 40 and 60 brand new ADAs start their first jobs out of law school. I’ve been one of them, I’ve known most of them, and I trained many of them. I’ve met new, young prosecutors full of sprit and vigor wanting nothing but to “kick-ass” in the courtroom. I’ve seen the ego and the swagger, and I’ve worked to teach fairness and perspective to counter it. From what these young people have told me, I’ve succeeded at that, and I didn’t do it alone. The entire office worked at it. But that success cannot possibly be 100% I know. And when it isn’t, attorneys like Brooks help to fill in the gaps through well reasoned and credible advocacy. Attorneys like Brooks find ways to communicate even with those who are unfortunately not predisposed to listen. David, on the other hand, finds himself frustrated, angry, and blaming the prosecutors for being unethical.

At the risk of sounding too much like Dr. Phil, it really is all about communication. David just tends to make claims that are too broad, to extreme, and too poorly supported. It is easy to see how a prosecutor might be guarded and skeptical when discussing a case with David. That same skepticism could, in return, foster David’s impression that the prosecutor is closed-minded and unwilling to listen. That is an unfortunate, unintentional, and understandable consequence. It is just not misconduct.

But David goes further and claims that in a state trial “it is a rare case in which problems involving the withholding of potentially exculpatory evidence (as Nifong was accused of doing) don’t arise.” It is the use of the word “withholding” that is troubling. The word implies that the prosecutor possesses the evidence, but refuses to provide it in a timely fashion. I don’t know how David draws this conclusion. Certainly, evidence is often disclosed later than desired. I am most definitely guilty of that, but to say that prosecutors have and do not provide such evidence on a regular basis is not true. At a minimum, no one wants their case reversed. But like public defenders, DA’s office are similarly understaffed and poorly funded. The concept of the power of the state is a mystery to me. I certainly never felt powerful. The volume of work in New York City nearly precludes efficiency. To make matters worse, the bureaucracy and size of the both the NYPD and the District Attorneys Offices cause regular delays in documents moving from one location to the next. In my day, even the most diligent prosecutor waited months just to receive a recording of a 911 call from the Communications Division. I suspect that in such situations, when a copy of the recording is provided to a defense attorney so late, his first instinct is to suspect that the evidence has been withheld. The same suspicion must also arise when the late disclosure is due to mistake or oversight and not some evil intent. David’s Slate piece would certainly lead any young defense attorney to jump to the worst possible conclusion.

This brings me back to communication. For years David supervised his attorneys that appeared against the prosecutors I supervised. Rarely did I receive complaints from defense attorneys about the prosecutors under my supervision for an ethical violation. I do not recall ever receiving a complaint from David. I may have, but it would have been rare. This is not to say that I don’t think David had his complaints. Clearly he did. But then he should have called me, an ADA that he trusted, and thereby opened a line of communication and allowed me to either explain it to his satisfaction, or provide training, guidance and even discipline to the wrong-headed prosecutor.

It is a heavy thing to call an attorney unethical, especially prosecutors who are held to the highest ethical standards. So before we go around making such heavy accusations against prosecutors, it might be a good thing to hold ourselves up to standard of a prosecutor. Check your facts, listen to alternative arguments and theories, maintain perspective and balance, and just be fair.

Posted by: Andrew | Jun 22, 2007 5:49:11 PM

Re: Brooks post and Andrew's comment

I think it would be difficult to dispute the basic theme of what you two are saying, which to my understanding is that if Feige is saying prosecutorial misconduct is a problem plaguing the majority of prosecutors in the majority of offices throughout the country, then not only is his thesis flawed, but it is unprovable- not to mention unhelpful to what he seeks to achieve. However I also think that Andrew’s post and a conversation I had with Brooks about Feige’s piece, indicate that personally knowing David Feige may result in seeing his piece in a different light. This is not to say that either of you have any sort of personal vendetta against him, nor I am saying that it has caused you two to read something into it which is not there, rather that you two may see the piece for what it actually may be- an extremist’s point of view on conduct which many prosecuting and defense attorneys alike find unethical.

At the same time, someone like myself, with an admittedly biased point of view on the way police and prosecutors choose to pursue charges against someone and the socioeconomics of the system, could see Feige’s piece in a different light. I read his piece as pointing out that Nifong’s disbarment would be an outlier- not because a blind eye will be turned to prosecutorial misconduct- but because it took a $3M defense team to expose this misconduct.

The question then becomes: can we resolve the large discrepancy between my reading of the piece versus Brooks and Andrew’s reading of the piece?

The answer is: within the purview of legal-like analysis, NO. However, may I suggest (something which may be blasphemous on this site) that since Fiege’s piece is not case law or a statute or even a scholarly piece, that we reconcile it by looking to the way literary critics analyze a piece of work. By doing this we could say that Brooks and Andrew have correctly analyzed Feige’s piece by looking to “authorial intent”; whereas I have correctly analyzed it using my- or the “reader’s response”- to the work.

Posted by: DMG | Jun 25, 2007 2:14:50 PM

Prosecutorial misconduct has been and continues to be a palpable problem in this country. To correct it, defense attorneys must acquire the wherewithal to file prosecutorial misconduct motions whenever warranted. Most defense attorneys are reticent to file these motions, because they are lazy, do not know the law, or believe that doing so is politically incorrect. However, after repeatedly fielding such motions, hopefully our judiciary, most of whom were prosecutors, will wake-up and realize that prosecutorial misconduct brings our criminal justice system further into disrepute because it is unlawful, offensive, insulting, ignorant, and increases the risk of convicting innocent defendants.

Kevin Jay Long, 773-545-2615, MEDICOLEGAL1@JUNO.COM

Posted by: Kevin Jay Long | Jul 8, 2007 3:08:36 AM

Nifong is an angel compared to many prosecutors who engage in felony conduct while prosecuting felonies. See below brief. -- scott huminski

http://prosecutorialmisconduct.blogspot.com/2007_07_01_archive.html

Posted by: Scott Huminski | Aug 22, 2007 10:01:22 AM

Give me a break. Our criminal justice [sic] system is sick and perverted. I watched two jury trials where I had the advantage of having all the discovery. The prosecutors lied to the grand jury, suborned perjury, and knowingly presented false evidence to the juries. No defense lawyer will touch these issues because (I'm assuming) they'd be blackballed in the county. Did I just run into another "rogue prosecutor" like Nifong? I seriously doubt it.

Another reputable person trying to do something about this horrible situation is Paul Craig Roberts. One of his articles is at:
http://vdare.com/roberts/061211_criminal.htm

Posted by: Dave H. | Nov 9, 2007 5:47:55 PM

I know for fact court employees can conceal evidence of innocence to the accused and in turn instruct the jury with false evidence. State admits after over a year the evidence in the jury instruction did NOT exist but the assigned on state payroll public attorney did not argue that point to vacate reverse conviction. The false evidence was serious and major instructed to jury to convict. Also court employees concealed evidence of innocence confirmed on the first day of trial by the main prosecution witness. Retired judge(retired at the time) calls for an immediate conference with both public attorneys and court reporter in the back hallway. Confirmed evidence of innocence is no longer in court transcript record. Judge blocked/obstructed efforts to correct record and assigned public court employees did not investigate witnessses to testimony given before conference to end the day and that main prosecution witness. They rigged and corrupted a public court proceeding.

Posted by: MOLINA | Apr 16, 2008 3:45:49 AM

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