Can We Trust the Prosecution to Play Fair? No.
When you watch TV, the prosecutors are always the good guys. Just check out Law & Order, for example. Heroes, right? Well, things are different out in the real world.
Policeman Gives Sworn Statement, Dallas County Prosecutor Told Him (as Sole Eyewitness) Who to Point Out At Trial
Just this past week, another Texas scandal involving the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office is brewing. The ONLY eyewitness in a trial back in 1995 has now come forward, and given a sworn statement that the prosecutor coached the witness to take the stand and point the finger at defendant Richard Miles.
The “eyewitness” is now a police officer in Oklahoma, has signed an affidavit just this month, swearing that he was told where Mr. Miles would be sitting in the courtroom, and that he needed to point the finger at this man — even though the guy in the courtroom didn’t look like the man that Miles saw shoot a pistol into a car, killing one man and injuring another.
Miles isn’t going to be released based upon this Oklahoma cop’s affidavit because he’s already out — freed after 14 years behind bars — because a memo was discovered in an old Dallas County District Attorney file that identified someone else as the suspect … a memo that was never, ever turned over to the defense.
And this happens everywhere, apparently, since just this past week, over in Fort Lauderdale ….
Before someone starts labeling this a rogue incident, an exception the rule of prosecutors being trustworthy, consider this new story that hit the stands this same week. Over in Florida, the Public Defenders Office – supported by the Broward County Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers – has made public a letter that was sent to the office of State Attorney Mike Satz. In it, the Public Defender’s Office flat out accuses the Florida prosecutors of routinely playing outside the rules.
The letter charges, in part, that the state attorneys there are not only routinely holding back evidence from defense attorneys that is helpful to the defendants, but they’re also covering up for bad cops and helping out those who come through their offices who happen to be of a higher socioeconomic level — the rich and powerful. (And you thought this only happened on Miami Vice reruns.)
The letter was sent just last Tuesday by Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, where he writes that he’s been forced “…to the inescapable conclusion that the [Florida] State Attorney’s Office, either through neglect or by design, has been non-compliant with its obligation to disclose favorable evidence to criminal defendants.”
Just Some Bad Actors, or Corruption in the System? Hmmmm……
Of course, some might say that Broward County is a bad example. It’s been labeled corrupt, and over the past two years alone there have been five arrests of elected officials, six cops have been sent to prison, and the city manager’s been tagged for embezzling a half-million bucks.
But then, maybe they haven’t been watching the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office much. Heck, just last month the county commissioners voted to settle the lawsuit brought against Dallas County by a former investigator in the DA’s office, who had sued for wrongful termination alleging that he’d been fired for reporting the unethical behavior in the Dallas DA’s Office.
Curiouser and curiouser….
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