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Should prosecutors face consequences when innocent people go to jail?

L.A. Times 2013/02/05 16:00:00
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In emotional testimony Monday, a Texas man told a judge how it felt spending 25 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. “Brutal,” Michael Morton said. “But after a couple decades, I got used to it.”

Morton, 58, who grew up in Los Angeles, was convicted in the 1986 beating death of his wife, Christine, at their home. He was exonerated and released almost a year and a half ago after DNA tests confirmed his innocence. Another man has since been charged in connection with the killing.

Now the man who prosecuted Morton, Williamson County District Judge Ken Anderson, faces an unprecedented “court of inquiry” about 30 miles north of Austin in which a judge will decide whether the then-district attorney lied and concealed evidence that could have cleared Morton.

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Read More: http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na...

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  • Matt 2013/02/05 23:02:36
    Yes
    Matt
    +25
    Whenever it is found that prosecutors have intentionally skewed the evidence against a defendant, or disallowed redeeming evidence, they should pay the price for the lives that they ruin. The justice system should pursue justice instead of convictions.
    justice funny

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  • Shannyn E. Revere 2013/06/23 15:58:18
    Yes
    Shannyn E. Revere
    Cases should be investigated prior to containment for extended periods. Our police should(some!) be more knowledgable and focused of making sure they ARE doing the right thing. Also making the proper charges against the aggressor and not assume that the victim is always the female ! Some are sooo good at manipulating the system that they just stick to what works for them. Do research or be there with the ones who's life was relying on you when they became NO-ONE in a cell being treated like an animal because you judged before proving. Innocent people shouldn't HAVE to struggle to regain a life, sleep, peace, employment,sanity, safety and of course those things we can never give them back suck as saying goodbye to loved ones who pass while they are away, family and children who severely suffer and sometimes die as a direct result of no longer being cared for by the INNOCENT child, spouse or parent. I think this is a HUGE problem in st.charles parish/Louisiana. Internal affairs should research ALL cases AND officers randomly!!!!!! My baby brother is currently being held with no bond because his former girlfriend (who filed a restraining order and has the courts believing she is frightened of my brother for her life) , left court after begging with fear to re-issue a restraining...
    Cases should be investigated prior to containment for extended periods. Our police should(some!) be more knowledgable and focused of making sure they ARE doing the right thing. Also making the proper charges against the aggressor and not assume that the victim is always the female ! Some are sooo good at manipulating the system that they just stick to what works for them. Do research or be there with the ones who's life was relying on you when they became NO-ONE in a cell being treated like an animal because you judged before proving. Innocent people shouldn't HAVE to struggle to regain a life, sleep, peace, employment,sanity, safety and of course those things we can never give them back suck as saying goodbye to loved ones who pass while they are away, family and children who severely suffer and sometimes die as a direct result of no longer being cared for by the INNOCENT child, spouse or parent. I think this is a HUGE problem in st.charles parish/Louisiana. Internal affairs should research ALL cases AND officers randomly!!!!!! My baby brother is currently being held with no bond because his former girlfriend (who filed a restraining order and has the courts believing she is frightened of my brother for her life) , left court after begging with fear to re-issue a restraining order... Was there waiting for us (my son and I drove him to court so he wasn't alone or unsafe) she parked her new boyfriends truck in my brothers yard ( I have clear pics) strides with a mission as I watched and listened to her screaming at him , to his back porch where he was seated and hit him in the face. A lady across the street called the st Charles police department and reported the incident. My brother called them and when they arrive he asked for a restraint order because we (after not believing what he understood from multiple police as HE reports her trespassing and abuse, I called the DA's office who without a doubt confirmed that this is ok because she is the only one protected by the order. I was told that he is NOT and she MAY be on his property!!!!!!!!!!!! He filed for a restraining order of his own and was .... Ready?????.....DEnIED by the district attorney !!!!!! If you think this is bad ... You should know this is only ONE incident.there ate statements (written) from persons starting at age 8 thru 80 throughout the parish as she has an extensive history of falsly accusing for domestic violence(they have no children, are not married, do not live together for over 7 months-not sure if that's domestic even if it were true! ) and rape. She has current rape charges on a guy that she was having an affair with and due to his coming clean with my brother(they were friends at the time-or so he thought) , she accused him of repeat rape at.... Ready???.... My Brothers home after she continuously unlocked the door when he knocked... And let him inside!!!!!!!! With a restraining order she broke into my brothers house a couple weeks ago , he was asleep in his recliner and woke UP to being PUNCHED with a closed fiat IN HiS face and HEAD. Then SHE , I believe was the one who called the police falsifying that he hit her and the ARRESTING officer ( yep, he went to jail that day) officer was told about the order and how he was awoken by assault , police officer says and notice my QUOTE..... "IT'S YOUR OWN FAULT FOR LEAVING YOUR DOOR UNLOCKED" this officer (if that's what you would call her) DIDN'T even ask him IF the door was infact..... Unlocked! She cuffed him and jail he went. A teenager and small child across the street said they SAW this girl on MANY occasions HIT HErSELF (which she has always done so its not of surprise) and make false statements against my brother , these kids .... All they see is that the cops are not good people and they only protect the guilty. Again on Wednesday she saw my brother and ran up to him as he parked , pushed his bike over on the ground while screaming and hitting him(her new boyfriend had to drag her away ) but what did she do????? With witnesses stating otherwise, she says he grabbed he and they have again charges my brother, now a felony(after 3accusations) domestic violence, violating a restraining order...... Seriously.... This is one of many just like it in my brothers situation(not a single word of it is untrue!) and I'll you are confused about how this is happening?????? ME TOO!!!! My brothers court date is OVER a month Away( that's ALOT when you are innocent and BEING harasses and attracted at your own home!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing protective about this system.
    (more)
  • deidara.trueart 2013/02/09 04:38:50
  • ☆stillthe12c☆ 2013/02/09 03:43:28
    Yes
    ☆stillthe12c☆
    +1
    Yes if he with held any thing about the case
  • Wheels9749 2013/02/08 20:28:35
    Yes
    Wheels9749
    +1
    prosecutors should hav their attorney licences taken away for life. they commit crimes by helping to send innocent people up the river. they destroy family including children. most should be convicted.......period.
  • Yes
    ⚥Κόζμω Græme اليا Mongrain
    Wasn't this the premise in the remake of "Cape Fear"?
  • Carl 2013/02/08 04:24:35
    Yes
    Carl
    Especially if they withheld information.
  • Swampdog PWCM 2013/02/07 23:32:48
    Yes
    Swampdog PWCM
    +1
    If they hide evidence it should be prison for the dirt bag.
  • ghostrider 2013/02/07 20:38:47
    Yes
    ghostrider
    +2
    Absolutely yes!!!! ... it's quite clear to the most casual observer that it all about 'getting a conviction' as opposed to 'getting JUSTICE'!!!! ... convictions ensure reelection, so-o-o .. .... when one reads about (many) of these instances of exoneration it becomes quite clear that evidence is concealed, 'manufactured' or otherwise mishandled, all to enhance the likelihood of conviction
  • ronbo 2013/02/07 19:30:47
    Yes
    ronbo
    +2
    If it is a case of prosecutorial misconduct, most definitely. Such things as witholding evidence which can exonerate someone just to get a conviction is awful. I,ve seen cases where some poor guy or gal does 20 years in jail only to be released after being proved innocent and not even get an official apology. Maybe if that prosecutor knew he or she could face some criminal penalty or at the very least it could end their legal careers he or she would conduct themselves in a more ethical manner.
  • John Walker II 2013/02/07 19:21:44
    Yes
    John Walker II
    ONLY if it's found they did not do the full measure of what's expected of them.

    They are there to prosecute. They are not there to play judge. If there is reasonable evidence to suggest that the person may have done it, they have an OBLIGATION to prosecute.

    If they hid evidence that should have been turned over to the defense that could have cleared him, then they need to have their ass handed to them.
  • ID51 2013/02/07 16:57:19
    Yes
    ID51
    +2
    Yes, IF it is found that a prosecutor concealed evidence or lied to make the case.
  • Jane 2013/02/07 16:40:25
    Yes
    Jane
    +1
    Especially in Texas, where this happens all the time.
  • peter 2013/02/07 16:37:13
    Yes
    peter
    if hey ignored evidence or falsifyed anything but it was the jury that convicted the person
  • Walter Harris 2013/02/07 16:18:19
    Yes
    Walter Harris
    it is too easy to put someone behind bars, even if they are innocent. Those envolved including the detectives, need to be held responcible, including the judge(he is incharge of the circus
  • Darr247 2013/02/07 15:17:55
    Yes
    Darr247
    +1
    One of their relatives should have to go to jail for the same amount of time as the innocent person they prosecuted, unless the prosecutor can personally pay a $250,000 per year fine for every year the person spent imprisoned.
  • Somkey the Hores 2013/02/07 08:13:18
    Yes
    Somkey the Hores
    YES.
  • Janus 2013/02/07 06:31:57
    No
    Janus
    +2
    They would have to be proven to have perverted the course of justice in the course of the prosecution first. The statistics on this question are wrong. Most people said Yes and then went on to say "only if the prosecutor is deliberately dishonest". Based on the question, it should have been NO, unless they have been deliberately dishonest.
  • John Ram Janus 2013/02/07 13:56:02
    John Ram
    adding to the confusion is that the example given in the question was dishonest prosecutor.
  • Zach 2013/02/07 06:30:24
  • Janus Zach 2013/02/07 14:04:26
    Janus
    Do you mean as long as he had good intentions, it does not matter that he was dishonest because he was "trying to get a killer off the street"?
  • ghostrider Zach 2013/02/07 20:28:49
    ghostrider
    Ever hear "The road to hell is paved with good intentions"??
  • gregory... Zach 2013/03/24 17:36:16
  • dallasjoe 2013/02/07 06:13:16
    Yes
    dallasjoe
    +4
    Judges Cops every body who gave false testimony
  • middlesex1957 2013/02/07 05:24:01
    Yes
    middlesex1957
    +4
    Evidence is tossed out of consideration constantly. Our "justice" system has a bad track record. I think that prosecutors should face consequences whenever an innocent person is jailed. Those consequences should be severe enough to motivate better performance.
  • Janus middles... 2013/02/07 14:07:22
    Janus
    I could not disagree any more statement. If an innocent person jailed, the only fault that can possibly lie with the prosecutor is that which arises out of deliberately withholding evidence that might exonerate an accused person or otherwise knowingly participating in misleading the court by putting up fabricated evidence of any kind. Provided the prosecutor had not done any of those things, it is their job to run their case to the best of their ability without worrying about ending up in jail because an innocent person happened to get convicted. They could never do their job under those circumstances.
  • vio-sonne 2013/02/07 04:10:44
    Yes
    vio-sonne
    No one can call it correctly all of the time but they've got to really examine the evidence and all possible scenarios closely before presenting a theory in the courtroom.
  • Samantha Lewis 2013/02/07 04:03:09
    No
    Samantha Lewis
    Only if it is proven they knew he was innocent or suppressed evidence.
  • bill.fleming.77 2013/02/07 03:47:00
    No
    bill.fleming.77
    Unless it can be proven it was prosecuted in malice.
  • OPen Minded 2013/02/07 03:40:22
    No
    OPen Minded
    Sh!t happens. Sorry.

    If the prosecutor was doing the best job possible, based on the evidence at hand, how can you say that?

    If there was evidence withheld, or other tampering with the case, that's different. And we have laws to cover that.

    What the hell do you want, prosecutors afraid to prosecute and criminals out on the street? Then we'll have to go back to citizens taking the law into their OWN hands...
  • Somkey ... OPen Mi... 2013/02/07 08:15:01
    Somkey the Hores
    +1
    You'll sing a different tune if it happens to YOU.
  • OPen Mi... Somkey ... 2013/02/12 02:29:48
    OPen Minded
    What is YOUR solution?
  • John Ram OPen Mi... 2013/02/07 14:01:03
    John Ram
    "If there was evidence withheld, or other tampering with the case, that's different. And we have laws to cover that. "

    The criminal laws don't punish the prosecutor, the worst that happens for him/her after wasting decades of an innocent person's life is disbarment. And it typically doesn't go that far. (eg, this prosecutor withheld evidence in muder case and was only suspended for a month: http://www.mercurynews.com/cr... )
  • OPen Mi... John Ram 2013/06/15 02:41:56
    OPen Minded
    What is YOUR solution?
  • Eric Br... OPen Mi... 2013/05/30 17:43:12
    Eric Bryner
    +3
    What the crap? So your saying if they are innocent and put in there for years, that they should just deal with it, and say they are criminals when they aren't? You know how stupid that sounds? If it was you. You would just spend all that time in prison, and say nothing about it? I doubt you would be all happy about it. So it is wrong for putting innocent people in prison, instead of getting the real criminal. Some people think they can get away with anything because they put an innocent person in their place in prison. That is BS right there.
  • OPen Mi... Eric Br... 2013/06/15 02:42:07
    OPen Minded
    What is YOUR solution?
  • colton delaney 2013/02/07 03:35:15
    Yes
    colton delaney
    +2
    overzealous prosecutors are very common, convict at all costs. I think they should be prosecuted for putting innocent people in prison, and why the hell did it take a years and a half for the guy to be released when DNA cleared him? because the prosecutor blocked it Ill bet. Prosecutors suck.
  • David 2013/02/07 03:07:39
    Yes
    David
    +1
    If any malfeasance can be demonstrated, then such consequences should be severe. If simple incompetence led to an unjust prosecution and imprisonment, then the consequences should be a bit more limited. I'm unsure exactly how to structure those extremes, but holding prosecutors (and "law enFARCEment ossifers") to high standards of accountability and responsibility would go a long way to limiting the use of "persecutorial powers" (yes, I used "persecute" there instead of "prosecute--for good reason) by governments.
  • fortycal_sig 2013/02/07 02:56:17
    Yes
    fortycal_sig
    +1
    If the prosecutor is found to have lied and/or concealed evidence, I say jail time of... let's see 1986 thru 2012... make it an even 25 years.
  • Tom Trojan 2013/02/07 01:12:58
    No
    Tom Trojan
    Not unless there was either negligence, or criminal intent.....
  • ConLibFraud 2013/02/07 01:12:22
    Yes
    ConLibFraud
    Hell Yes!!!!!!!
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