Citizens' Issues
Trial and Error: Report Says Prosecutors Rarely Pay Price for Mistakes and Misconduct

The Innocence Project released a report alleging that prosecutors are almost never punished when they withhold evidence or commit other forms of misconduct that land innocent people in prison

 

The Innocence Project released a report Tuesday alleging that prosecutors across the country are almost never punished when they withhold evidence or commit other forms of misconduct that land innocent people in prison.

 

The Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal group that represents people seeking exonerations, examined records in Arizona, California, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania, and interviewed a wide assortment of defense lawyers, prosecutors and legal experts.

 

In each state, researchers examined court rulings from 2004 through 2008 in which judges found that prosecutors had committed violations such as mischaracterizing evidence or suborning perjury. All told, the researchers discovered 660 findings of prosecutorial error or misconduct. In the overwhelming majority of cases, 527, judges upheld the convictions, finding that the prosecutorial lapse did not impact the fairness of the defendant's original trial. In 133 cases, convictions were thrown out.

 

Only one prosecutor was disciplined by any oversight authorities, the report asserts.

 

The report was issued on the anniversary of a controversial Supreme Court ruling for those trying to achieve justice in the wake of wrongful convictions. In a 520134 decision in the case known as Connick v. Thompson, the court tossed out a $14-million dollar award by a Louisiana jury to John Thompson, a New Orleans man who served 18 years in prison for a murder and robbery he did not commit.

 

The majority ruled that while the trial prosecutors had withheld critical evidence of Thompson's likely innocence 2013 blood samples from the crime scene 2013 the Orleans Parish District Attorney's office could not be found civilly liable for what the justices essentially determined was the mistake of a handful of employees. The decision hinged on a critical finding: that the District Attorney's office, and the legal profession in general, provides sufficient training and oversight for all prosecutors.

 

The Innocence Project study echoes a 2013 ProPublica examination focused on New York City prosecutors. In 2013, ProPublica used a similar methodology to analyze more than a decade's worth of state and federal court rulings. We found more than two dozen instances in which judges explicitly concluded that city prosecutors had committed harmful misconduct.

 

Several of the wrongfully convicted people in these cases successfully sued New York City. In recent years, New York City and state have doled out tens of million dollars in settlements stemming from such lawsuits. Former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes was voted out of office, in part because of wrongful convictions gained through misconduct on the part of his prosecutors or police detectives working with them.

 

But only one New York City prosecutor, ProPublica's analysis found, was formally disciplined: Claude Stuart, a former low-level Queens Assistant District Attorney, lost his license. He was involved in three separate conviction reversals.

 

Just as we found in New York, the Innocence Project's report found that appellate judges and others almost never report findings of misconduct to state panels and bar associations that are authorized to investigate them.

 

"In the handful of situations where an investigation is launched," the report found, "The committees generally failed to properly discipline the prosecutor who committed the misconduct."

 

The report concludes with several recommendations on how to improve accountability for prosecutors. It suggests, among other things, that judges ought to mandatorily report all findings of misconduct or error and that state legislatures pass laws requiring prosecutors to turn over all law enforcement material well before trial.

 

But perhaps most powerful is the report's introduction, a 2011 letter to then-Attorney General Eric Holder and two national prosecutor associations. It was written in response to the Connick ruling and signed by 19 people whose wrongful convictions were secured in part by prosecutorial misconduct.

 

"We, the undersigned and our families, have suffered profound harm at the hands of careless, overzealous and unethical prosecutors," the letter said. "Now that the wrongfully convicted have virtually no meaningful access to the courts to hold prosecutors liable for their misdeeds, we demand to know what you intend to do to put a check on the otherwise unchecked and enormous power that prosecutors wield over the justice system."

 

According to the Innocence Project, the Justice Department never responded to the letter.

 

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

 

 

 

 

 

User

Potatoes, tomatoes help in keeping sweat at bay
New Delhi : With summer around the corner, sweat is a major problem and it is just no fun. Though it is a natural phenomenon, it can be quite embarrassing and problematic when you are out with someone or have to go for an important meeting.
 
Home hacks like putting potatoes slices under your arms and drinking a glass of tomato juice every day will help you in getting rid of this excessive sweat. 
 
Rahul Aggarwal, CEO, Organic Harvest, an organic beauty care range company, has shared some easy tips on how to keep sweat at bay this summer season.
 
* Coconut oil: Infuse about 10 grams of camphor in a bowl of coconut oil and apply on the sweat prone areas after bath. Leave it on for 45-60 minutes. Wash it off with clean water to give you desired results.
 
* Salt: To cure excessive sweating this summer, mix a tablespoon of salt with lime juice. Massaging your hands with this mix will decelerate the activities of sweat glands.
 
* Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil can be applied to the high perspiring areas. Desired results can be seen if regularly used. It is also excellent for oily skin.
 
* Potato: These will help in getting rid of sweat. Simply cut slices of potato and rub them under your arms and the areas prone to sweat. Allow the slices to dry before wearing your clothes.
 
* Tomato juice: Drinking a glass of tomato juice every day will help you in getting rid of this excessive sweat during summer.
 
* Grapes: A natural anti-oxidant, grapes help you balance the temperature of the body. So eating grapes daily can help you soothe out the problem of this excessive sweating.
 
* Vinegar: Intake of two teaspoons of natural vinegar and one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar is an excellent remedy to cure the excessive sweating. Taking this mixture thrice a day on an empty stomach half an hour before or after meals will give you the desired results.
 
* Cornstarch and baking soda: If you sweat profusely, applying the mixture of cornstarch and baking soda under the arms will help you get rid of this problem. After applying the mixture let it stay for half an hour till it dries up and later wash it off with clean water.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

Excess gadget use leading to hunched backs: Doctors
New Delhi : Excessive use of electronic gadgets has led to a rise in cases of hunched backs among youngsters, health experts have said.
 
They said the problem initially begins as a mild case of bad posture when the children are comparatively young, but slowly begins to develop into hunched back and shoulders. 
 
"It all starts with a bad posture due to spending more time on small digital screens. The more they get addicted to the gadgets the more the children are comfortable in the bad position," said Dr Arvind G. Kulkarni, head of Spine Scoliosis and Disc Replacement Centre at the Bombay Hospital in Mumbai.
 
Hunched back is a medical condition of exaggerated curving of the upper back. Typically, head and shoulders shift forward, the chest curls inwards and the spine crunches from a healthy 'S' curve to a less healthy 'C' position as the pelvis tilts forward.
 
"Though associated with old age, hunchback is a condition commonly seen among the youngsters these days, especially those between 9-18 years old. The main cause is weak abdominal muscles from years of sitting in a hunched position. This places uneven pressure on the discs, the cushioning pads between the bones of the lower back, causing them to become compressed and painful," said Kulkarni.
 
Hyperkyphosis or excessive curvature of thoracic spine is more common among hunchbacks if not treated on time.
 
"Many people with hyperkyphosis suffer from shortness of breath and other breathing issues. It may also cause anxiety and depression, increased risk of cardiovascular or lung disease and Type 2 diabetes," said Kulkarni.
 
Talking about the treatment, orthopaedician Ronit Singh of Safdarjung hospital said: "With children and youth, it's important that they learn the correct way to sit, especially when using computers, mobile phones and tablets."
 
"For the youth and the elderly, exercises like stretching etc often help improve the spine flexibility. Youngsters can emphasise on strengthening abdominal muscles as it helps improve posture. Practicing yoga is considered beneficial for good body posture. Yoga also helps in improving balance; strengthening the core muscles and helping you maintain a proper body alignment," he said.
 
He said that surgical procedures are recommended and done only if the spine curvature is exaggerated and if it is pinching the spinal cord or the nerve roots. 
 
"Surgery helps in reducing hunchback curvature. The most common procedure is spinal fusion where two or more affected vertebrae are permanently connected. Understanding the importance of good posture at a very early age is essential to maintain a healthy mind and body," he said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)