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Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

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Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby jfiling » Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:57 pm

http://projects.usatoday.com/news/2010/justice/

One of my favorites from the closer look section:
* U.S. v. Sipe: Border Patrol agent David Sipe was charged in 2000 with using excessive force as he attempted to detain an undocumented immigrant crossing into Texas from Mexico. Three immigrants had ignored orders to stop and had fled into a field of tall reeds. Sipe used his flashlight to subdue one who was resisting arrest; the immigrant suffered a head wound that required five stitches. After Sipe was convicted in 2001, his defense attorney, Jack Wolfe, discovered that prosecutors failed to tell the court that the immigrants had been granted Social Security cards, border-crossing passes and money in exchange for their testimony.
* Outcome: The trial judge ordered a new trial, a ruling upheld in 2004 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. At Sipe's 2007 retrial, the evidence that the government had extended privileges to the victim was introduced. A jury acquitted Sipe after two hours of deliberation. He eventually won back pay from the Border Patrol, on condition that he never work again for Homeland Security. Sipe has taught martial arts classes and is seeking a job in law enforcement. "When I went into public service, I expected honorable behavior would be the norm," Sipe said. "I wasn't expecting an unfair investigation, an unfair trial."

Strange how these prosecutors work for the Department of Justice, and yet "justice" is secondary at best to "convictions".
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby exiledbuckeye » Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:06 pm

Shocker: Law enforcement officers and lawyers are human beings like the rest of us, and therefore not infallible.

One week you're posting a thread about how horrible cops are, and the next you're upset about a prosecutor lying to a cop's lawyer. Sounds like a real contradiction for you. How'd you pick which side to hate on this time?

You and I have agreed on things on the past, J, but you're getting extreme.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby exiledbuckeye » Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:10 pm

To be fair, I clicked the link and checked some stuff out. I don't think the Justice system is necessarily broken, but it can be incredibly frustrating to lose out on convictions because you can't meet the protections and standards set out by the constitution and the law. That's still no excuse for lawyer misconduct.

As a lawyer, I am confident in saying that the legal profession as a whole holds itself to extremely high standards and is excellent at self-policing that. Bar disciplinary councils hand out harsh punishment when warranted. The ethical standards that lawyers are held to are probably more rigid than those of any other profession.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby Ziner » Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:14 pm

Is justice always exact and honest, no.

Does everyone outside the process wish it were, yes.

Will it ever be, no.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby jfiling » Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:33 pm

exiledbuckeye wrote:Shocker: Law enforcement officers and lawyers are human beings like the rest of us, and therefore not infallible.

One week you're posting a thread about how horrible cops are, and the next you're upset about a prosecutor lying to a cop's lawyer. Sounds like a real contradiction for you. How'd you pick which side to hate on this time?

You and I have agreed on things on the past, J, but you're getting extreme.

I am pretty sure I've been consistent when it comes to the government railroading innocent people. I can't find the contradiction here.

Never mind the fact that a prosecutor knowingly withholding the evidence of buying testimony isn't a result of his being a "human being", but is a result of him being a pigfucking asshole who is more concerned with padding his conviction statistics and less concerned with actually carrying our justice.

Don't expect me to apologize for hoping prosecutors like those in the article I linked die of the most painful of cancers. They aren't the good guys. They are people who don't care who they put in prison in order to further their own careers.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby jfiling » Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:35 pm

Ziner wrote:Is justice always exact and honest, no.

Does everyone outside the process wish it were, yes.

Will it ever be, no.

I agree, Ziner, but there is a huge difference between accepting the inexact science of determining between the guilty and the innocent, and accepting a system where prosecutors deliberately pervert the system even though they know that the people they are prosecuting are innocent.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby jfiling » Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:41 pm

exiledbuckeye wrote:As a lawyer, I am confident in saying that the legal profession as a whole holds itself to extremely high standards and is excellent at self-policing that. Bar disciplinary councils hand out harsh punishment when warranted. The ethical standards that lawyers are held to are probably more rigid than those of any other profession.

Not when it comes to prosecutorial misconduct, which is what led me to post this in the first place. Radley Balko has an article today at Reason.com pointing this out:
Of the 201 cases USA Today reviewed in which a judge publicly reprimanded a prosecutor, the paper found just one in which a prosecutor "was barred even temporarily from practicing law for misconduct." The Justice Department refused to tell the paper about which, if any, of the cases resulted in internal discipline taken against the offending prosecutors. Rather appallingly, DOJ cited the need to protect the prosecutors' privacy. Never mind that they’re public servants who have been reprimanded by a federal judge for abusing their power. Not to mention that said power is among the most serious we afford to a government official. Prosecutors have the power to take away a citizens’ freedom. Even in cases that don’t result in a conviction, a federal indictment or even investigation can bankrupt the target of the investigation. The idea that prosecutors who abuse that power should be escape public scrutiny out of concern for their privacy is not only preposterous, it's another symptom of a system with misplaced priorities.

http://reason.com/archives/2010/09/27/m ... prosecutor

Again, I don't think I'm being contradictory in any of this, nor is it unreasonable to think that the lawyers that are paid for by you and I should be interested in getting the right guilty party, instead of the easiest to convict.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby exiledbuckeye » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:12 am

I'm just going to note that the DOJ is not the same thing as a bar disciplinary council. The DOJ as an employer and a "company" has a vested interest in keeping this misconduct quiet (how could they not?). A state bar disciplinary council has a higher-level view, of the profession as a whole. In your last post you bolded the part about a federal judge having reprimanded them; that's what I'm talking about, on a smaller level.

Again, obviously I don't think it's right on any level, but the incentive to do this sort of thing to further your career is huge. You go to law school, rack up between $150-$200K of debt on the promise of a high-paying job upon graduation, except the only offer you get is as a prosecutor or public defender, making $40K. Good luck having any quality of life or a family with those $1500/month student loan payments. This is another systemic problem that needs to be addressed somehow. If the incentive and financial pressures are there, unfortunately, you're going to see more people than you'd like turn to this kind of misconduct.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby FUDU » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:30 am

exile you seem to be the one contradicting yourself or at least talking out of both sides of your mouth and being intellectually dishonest. You're saying you don't condone it yet you are justifying it to a point and in essence saying "that's just how it is".

WTF.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby exiledbuckeye » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:39 am

Wrong. Probably not making myself clear - I think it's reprehensible and I'd never participate in something like that if I were still a practicing lawyer - goes against both my personal and professional ethics.

What I'm trying to say is that I can see WHY this happens, why people give into this temptation. The system on that level is broken. It's certainly not right. I do think that it's the combination of a messed up system and flawed human beings, though. Definitely not justifying it or trying to say "that's just how it is." I think there is a huge fundamental problem that needs to be addressed - starting with the cost of law school and outrageous faculty salaries. Perhaps if lawyers weren't in enormous debt upon law school graduation this sort of thing wouldn't happen as much.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby FUDU » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:44 am

Understood.

As much as I despise lawyers in general (fairly or unfairly as it is) there is a purpose for them, the trick is finding the appropriate and justified use for them or for lawyers to put themselves to an appropriate and justified use.

YMMV.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby exiledbuckeye » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:48 am

And I do owe J an apology, though the headline/title for this thread is ridiculous to the level of tabloid, and that's what got me riled up.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby Ziner » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:50 am

exiledbuckeye wrote: I think there is a huge fundamental problem that needs to be addressed - starting with the cost of law school and outrageous faculty salaries. Perhaps if lawyers weren't in enormous debt upon law school graduation this sort of thing wouldn't happen as much.


Ain't just law school. Probably should have posted my last comment in the other thread here. Or we can start a whole new thread, but the cost of education is absurd. Everyone wants a college educated employee, no one wants to pay a premium for it, but in this job market if you want a job you better keep up with the Jones's.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby FUDU » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:59 am

Ziner wrote:
exiledbuckeye wrote: I think there is a huge fundamental problem that needs to be addressed - starting with the cost of law school and outrageous faculty salaries. Perhaps if lawyers weren't in enormous debt upon law school graduation this sort of thing wouldn't happen as much.


Ain't just law school. Probably should have posted my last comment in the other thread here. Or we can start a whole new thread, but the cost of education is absurd. Everyone wants a college educated employee, no one wants to pay a premium for it, but in this job market if you want a job you better keep up with the Jones's.
To add to your point Zine, the opportunity cost of going to college is always rising as well. So often it is a fine line and a substantial risk to go after higher education at the expense of lost time, money and opportunity.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby exiledbuckeye » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:00 pm

FUDU wrote:Understood.

As much as I despise lawyers in general (fairly or unfairly as it is) there is a purpose for them, the trick is finding the appropriate and justified use for them or for lawyers to put themselves to an appropriate and justified use.

YMMV.


Hey, I went to law school and I despise most lawyers - so you're not entirely wrong there. It just bugs me when people paint us all with such a broad brush. We're not all evil.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby jb » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:09 pm

FUDU wrote:As much as I despise lawyers in general (fairly or unfairly as it is) there is a purpose for them, the trick is finding the appropriate and justified use for them or for lawyers to put themselves to an appropriate and justified use.



Yeah, when it's your ox being gored. Then it gets justified an appropriate real damn fast.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby FUDU » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:27 pm

jb wrote:
FUDU wrote:As much as I despise lawyers in general (fairly or unfairly as it is) there is a purpose for them, the trick is finding the appropriate and justified use for them or for lawyers to put themselves to an appropriate and justified use.



Yeah, when it's your ox being gored. Then it gets justified an appropriate real damn fast.

Sure but if you're intellectually honest with yourself you know the difference of when to and when not to.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby Fire Marshall Bill » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:34 pm

NEWSFLASH!!!!!

Prosecutors lie and cheat!

Peeker shits in the woods!

Water is still wet!

Cardinal Bernard Law is still not dead!

Updates at 11!!!!!
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby Ziner » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:21 pm

Fire Marshall Bill wrote:
Cardinal Bernard Law is still not dead!



Could be if you jinxed him like you did Blanda... killer.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby Fire Marshall Bill » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:49 pm

If I had that power Mitch, FUDU and a few others could verify that pedophile enabler woulda been sliced, diced, skinned, fried and left for the buzzards many years ago...

But yeah, I keilled George Blanda...I should make it my sig line
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby jfiling » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:22 pm

exiledbuckeye wrote:And I do owe J an apology, though the headline/title for this thread is ridiculous to the level of tabloid, and that's what got me riled up.

No apology necessary.

My feeling is that defense lawyers are expected, if not required, to do everything within the boundaries of ethics to create reasonable doubt for their client. That's the way the system works. Prosecutors, though, are required by law to share exculpatory evidence with the defense, as well as share how they got the evidence and testimony they plan to use in court. And prosecutors most of all have a legal and ethical duty to not put people on trial when they know the accused is innocent. That is inexcusable.
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby mattvan1 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:51 pm

Always believed that if you were indicted by the Feds you were guilty, or at least would be found so. Kinda makes me wonder if Rodger Clemens is really innocent?
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Re: Shocker: USA Today shows that prosecutors lie and cheat

Unread postby Cerebral_DownTime » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:02 pm

mattvan1 wrote:Always believed that if you were indicted by the Feds you were guilty, or at least would be found so. Kinda makes me wonder if Rodger Clemens is really innocent?


Some lawyer from the 1920's had a saying; "You can indict a ham sandwich".
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