On Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments on whether or not prosecutors can be held responsible for framing defendants with false testimony and fabricated evidence. At this particular time, prosecutors are usually shielded from civil rights lawsuits.
The case they are hearing concerns two Pottawattamie County, Iowa prosecutors who allegedly obtained false testimony from a man who became the key witness against Curtis McGhee and Terry Harrington in the 1977 shotgun murder of an auto dealership security guard in Council Bluffs. They were sentenced to life in prison.
Is there even a question here? Prosecutors that use perjured testimony and evidence invented out of thin air not only should be allowed to be sued, they should also face criminal prosecution. Two illegal acts do not add up to justice. How does any prosecutor in America justify using lies and fabrications to convict a defendant? Not only is it a crime, it is also a violation of the defendants constitutional right to a fair trial. ( As is the participation of a third party ).
Let us not beat around the bush here, do we really want our prosecutors to be allowed to get away with this garbage? You and I are not allowed to commit perjury. But, a prosecutor should be? No! They must be held to a higher standard than that. Their job is at the fundamental core of the constitution. Their job is to prosecute the accused, who are innocent until PROVEN guilty. Proving someone is guilty using lies and deceit is not proving the guilt of the accused.
In the article I read, which is in today’s USA Today newspaper, Deputy U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal. urged the justices to rule that prosecutors’ immunity for actions related to their trial work also covers any investigatory misconduct that led to the charges. Katyal went on to say the court should focus on the overriding goals of the justice system. This next excerpt is a direct quote from Katyal. ” If prosecutors have to worry at trial that every act they undertake will somehow open up the door to liability, they will flinch in the performance of their duties. ” What? No Mr. Deputy Solicitor, they should not have to worry about every act, JUST THE ILLEGAL ONES! Is this guy for real?
Stephen Sanders, the lawyer for the prosecutors argued that they cannot be liable for any fabrication that ends up being used at trial. Why the hell not? They made it up. Its bull#@$^! If its used to convict someone, they are liable because it was a lie! Justice Anthony Kennedy responded ( this is a direct quote as well ) ” So the law is, the more deeply you’re involved in the wrong, the more likely you are to be immune. Thats a strange proposition. ” Indeed it is Justice Kennedy.
Chief Justice John Roberts added ” We’re concerned about the chilling effect on prosecutors. ” Hey John, shouldn’t you be more concerned about how many innocent people may have been convicted because of illegal acts committed by prosecutors? Can someone please explain where exactly his head is?
The bottom line is, prosecutors in this country tend believe they are above the law. They are not. They have an obligation to prosecute the accused within the parameters of the law, meaning, they can not lie or fabricate evidence. if they do, they are liable civilly and criminally for it.