Would you be celebrating freedom, would you feel that America stands for freedom if you were sitting in prison for a crime you did not commit knowing that prosecutors used falsified evidence to put you there and that the Attorney General knew what the prosecutors have done but refused to reveal the truth, refused to allow you to be judged by the truth and refused to hold the prosecutor accountable for using falsified evidence?
Today we celebrate our Freedom. Freedom from who; freedom from what; freedom from an oppressive, unjust and dictatorial government. We could enumerate dozens of despotic and persecutory acts committed by the British upon the American Colonists which would validate the Colonists creation of a new government accountable to the people justified.
To help ensure that this new government could no longer commit acts against the well being of its citizens, our Founding Fathers had the foresight to establish the 1st Amendment guaranteeing Freedom of Speech, the right of any person to openly and publicly criticize the actions of the government without fear being persecuted for doing so.
It goes without saying that should our government repeal this right through the enactment of new Constitutional Amendments and new laws we would agree that we would have no reason to celebrate our freedom today.
Suppose under the prescriptions of these new laws violators would be subjected to imprisonment for making statements critical of the government proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Under these new laws a citizen is found guilty of violating these new laws even violating these very laws during his trial in protest of the very laws of which he is being tried for and subsequently convicted of.
Now suppose a citizen is convicted and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit despite the fact that the prosecutors, the accusers, know or should have known that the person is innocent.
The former conviction was obtained through the proper administration of justice which revealed the truth during the trial and the latter conviction was obtained fraudulently, that is by the prosecution presenting false and erroneous evidence to secure a conviction.
Logic would dictate that the latter is a more egregious loss of freedom than the former, yet are national response to the two indicates the opposite.
Despite the former person being convicted by the truth and the proper administration of justice, if a person were tried and convicted for simply speaking his mind regarding the actions of the government there would be a national protest against such acts led by thousands of journalists that no government could withstand. If we would demonstrate such contempt for a lack of one freedom, how come we don’t show the same fervor and zeal for the lack of freedom of the other?
As we enjoy the fireworks, hot dogs and ice-cream while celebrating our own freedom today, there are many who are languishing in prison convicted of a crime they did not commit, who are not free and that we could just as easily be in a cell with them proving that we are not as free as we would like to believe. (1)
If you were a prosecutor, entrusted with the power of the government to send people to prison based upon the information you present to a judge and jury, so long as no witnesses provided false testimony, could you ever convict an innocent person of a crime if you did not want to?
If it’s impossible for you to convict innocent people of crimes it stands to reason that your integrity should apply to all current prosecutors, for prosecutors are just like you, human beings, U.S. citizens whose job happens to be to enforce the laws fairly and equally upon all of us .
What is impossible for you should also be impossible for prosecutors, yet every year thousands of citizens are convicted of crimes they have not committed, thus prosecutors must not be like you in not wanting to convict innocent citizens crimes.
It is not a matter of ability; it is a matter of want to. If prosecutors do not want to convict innocent people then they wouldn’t.
There is not enough space in this article to elaborate about the various psychologies that represent the plethora of personalities regarding wrongful convictions, however there is one core practice that plays a very large role in wrongful convictions which is common to most prosecutors, it is the practice of suppressing evidence that is beneficial to the defense. It is not the only cause but it is a biggie in which most other improper tactics stem from.
Why do prosecutors suppress evidence, they suppress evidence because they are not obligated by the law to produce the truth, prosecutors are only obligated to put on a case to compete against the defense in our “adversarial system” of justice. In its most basic sense it is the competitive nature that takes over to the detriment of the rule of law and a sense of universal justice.
Prosecutors want to win. On another level it has to do with personal or societal prejudices which motivate prosecutors to suppress and or manipulate evidence to their own benefit enabling them to violate the Constitutions free from a convicting conscience.
Additionally there is the camaraderie within law enforcement, a bond that creates an inherent conflict of interest preventing colleagues from holding one other accountable when their actions violate the law, (a police officer destroying evidence or providing perjurious testimony), sometimes referred to as the, “blue wall of silence” which extends from small town beat cops to police chiefs of major cities to County DAs, to federal prosecutors and to Attorney Generals and all the way up to judges to which many have graduated to their position through the departments of justice.
How else can you explain the U.S Supreme Court decision in Connick v. Thompson which grants prosecutors the right to violate the U.S. Constitution regardless of how egregious the act or the magnitude of harm caused to the innocent. (2)
Proof is in the pudding
According to Professor Marvin Zalman’s study, 5,000 to 10,000 people are wrongfully convicted each year in the United States. (3)
Of the 1,159 exonerations documented by The National Registry of Exonerations 516 wrongful convictions were due in part to official misconduct by the police, prosecutors and government agents. (4)
140 Death Row inmates have been exonerated since 1973. If you had a million dollars at your disposal to reveal the truth, do you think you would accidentally produce a lie to send someone to death for a crime they did not commit. (5)
In addition to the National Registry, there have been 300 exonerations documented by the Innocent Project. The heart wrenching stories can be found here. (6)
In California it is against the law for police officers to suppress and or destroy evidence, PC 135, or to falsify the evidence of a crime scene, PC 141(b).
A survey was sent out to 80 high ranking law enforcement officials, 20 police chiefs, 130 Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorneys, 10 County District Attorneys, 40 California State Prosecutors, 10 U.S. Prosecutors 6 State Attorney Generals asking if police officer who have suppressed evidence or destroyed evidence or falsified evidence pursuant to PC 135 and 141(b), have they violated the law? (7)
Not one of the 295 high ranking officials from the justice system were willing to go on record stating that fellow officers should be held accountable for violating the law.
Notable among them who refused state that they would hold culpable officers accountable: L.A. DA Jackie Lacy; L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck; S.F. DA George Gascon; S.F. Police Chief Greg Suhr; Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns, Santa Clara DA Jeff Rosen, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Sutter County DA Carl Adams who is President of the California District Attorney’s Association.
DA Adams responded to the request by declining to go on record because he assumed to know the future before the future happened by falsely asserting that the information provided from the survey would not be used for anything.
The adversarial system of justice is a game with two opponents in which one opponent can cheat to win with impunity.
Prosecutors and cops are allowed to cheat to win because they are not only a competitor in the game, but they are also the referee who enforces the rules on the competitors, on themselves. Unfortunately prosecutors and cops don’t apply the rules to themselves when they cheat to win. That is a conflict of interest which results in the wrong competitor winning when he/she shouldn’t.
That sums up the fundamental flaw with the justice system. One competitor enforces the rules while the other does not. If the game is to be fair then both competitors need to abide by the rules which cannot be accomplished if only one is in charge of enforcing the rules.
There is a simple solution to the problem, provide citizen oversight and accountability of our public servants, the prosecutors and law enforcement agents by establishing Public Integrity Units that are completely segregated from prosecutor and law enforcement agencies and staffed with conflict free citizens providing those citizens with all of same powers of District Attorneys and Bureau of Investigations yet whose sole purpose is to investigate and prosecute law enforcement agents, cops and prosecutors for violating the Constitutions and the laws.
Prosecutors and law enforcement agents become defensive and hostile to such suggestions of transparency and accountability. And why is that, that’s because prosecutors and cops sit in a position of power which they use to insulate themselves from being held accountable falsely claiming to the public that they are capable of doing it themselves. However, the facts and history show this not to be true.
There is no financial, logical, legal or ethical argument to prohibit citizen oversight of prosecutors and the police, thus the refusal of the justice system to subject itself to invasive public scrutiny demonstrates that it wants to hide its activities from the very public it claims to serve.
If you are not doing anything wrong then there is nothing to hide. Hence the justice system conducts its affairs in a manner that it knows the public would not approve of, a manner which results in wrongful convictions and therefore refuses to allow someone other than itself to hold itself accountable.
“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” John F. Kennedy
The Founding Fathers of our nation despised the British for monopolizing the mechanisms and powers of government refusing to provide any legitimate participation by the governed. The result was the creation of a New Nation in which the mechanisms and powers of government were to be shared among all citizens.
What is the test of a true American Patriot? A true American Patriot is a person who has an aversion to possessing control of others and who wants to share the powers of the government with as many citizens as possible. The fact that law enforcement officials and prosecutors from one end of the country to the other resist and refuse to share the power they have with the citizens whom they serve proves beyond a reasonable doubt that they are the impostures of pretended patriotism that George Washington warned us about.
We as a society do not tolerate cheating in grade school, high school or college often subjecting cheaters to suspension and expulsion. We as a society condemn cheaters in amateur and professional sports subjecting violators of the rules to extreme discipline and ostracism. We as a society punish cheaters in business to criminal remedies. If we as a society will not allow cheaters to prosper or exist in every venue of conceivable, why do we allow cheaters to exist and prosper in the justice system where the consequences are significantly more damaging to the underpinnings of society.
Contrary to common belief, according to the United States Supreme Court and Justice System in Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390 (1993), it is not a violation of the Constitution to imprison and or execute innocent citizens. (8)
The fireworks; the Star Spangled Banner; the hot dogs and ice-cream are just an illusion or more precisely a diversion to what truly is.
“As citizens, we must always be on guard for the terrors of a justice system run amok by those who are charged with legal authority, yet show no fidelity to the Constitution or the notion of justice underlying it.” Judge James E. Rogan
“The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice.” John Adams
(1) Example Cases:
One: Michael Morton freed after spending 25 years in prison being wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife because the DA withheld evidence.
Two: Ryan Ferguson serving 40 years for a murder he did not commit, wrongfully convicted by false testimony and false misidentification.
Three: Rick Walker wrongfully convicted
Four: Central Park Five
Five: Joshua Kezer wrongfully convicted
(2) Connick v. Thompson
(3) Professor Marvin Zalman’s study
(4) The National Registry of Exonerations
(5) Death Penalty Information Center
(6) Innocent Project
(8) Herrera v. Collins
(9) A case study of corrupt justice system
(10) Complicity of Judges
(11) Justice Denied
Eyewitness misidentification is a leading cause of wrongful convictions, however any prosecutor who wants to reveal the truth to obtain justice will weed out the false witnesses nor rely solely on eyewitness testimony, for to do so would still constitute deliberate negligence. Snitches seeking favors; coerced false confessions; and faulty forensics all fall in the lap of prosecutors when used to seek a conviction rather than the truth.
If prosecutors seek the truth instead of a conviction the information obtained form the above sources will not manipulate the outcome of the trial nor harm justice. For example the case of Nicole Harris is one in which prosecutors knowingly used a false confession to obtain a wrongful conviction:
[A prosecutor has spent a lot of time and resources to build a solid murder case against suspect “A.” It comes to the prosecutor’s attention that there is a piece of evidence that has blood on it. The prosecutor refuses to test the blood to determine whose blood it is because if the blood belongs to someone other than the victim or suspect “A” the case built against suspect “A” falls apart. Rather than risk the loss of his time and resources put into developing his current case and instead of revealing the truth the prosecutor chooses not to use the evidence falsely claiming to the defense that it does not exist to ensure the success of his own case. It just so happens that the blood did not belong to suspect “A” but to the true perpetrator of the crime, yet suspect “A” gets convicted by the prosecutor based upon the factual evidence presented to the judge and jury.]
“The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory.” Thomas Jefferson