Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

San Jose Mercury News Series "Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice"

The subject of this weblog post, "Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice", was the overall title of a five-part series by the San Jose Mercury News from January 22 through January 26. It documented the criminal justice system failures of Santa Clara County (California) prosecutors, defense attorneys, trial judges, and appellate judges over a three year period.

The series segment's titles were:
  • Part One: Review of more than 700 appeals finds problems throughout the justice system
  • Part Two: Prosecutors over the line
  • Part Three: High cost of bad defense
  • Part Four: How judges favor the prosecution
  • Part Five: Last chance, little help

The Mercury News described its methodology and overall findings this way in Part One:

"The Mercury News began its investigation in late 2002, as concerns emerged about the quality of justice in a series of high-profile cases. To test how the system worked more broadly, the newspaper reviewed the records of five years of criminal jury trial appeals decided by the California 6th District Court of Appeal -- 727 cases in all. In addition, the newspaper uncovered about 200 cases of questionable conduct that were not part of the study period, by reviewing files and interviewing lawyers.

The review established that in 261 of the appellate cases reviewed -- more than one in every three of the total -- the criminal trial had been marred by questionable conduct that worked against the defendant. In only about one in 20 cases did the defendant win meaningful relief -- either a new trial or a significantly reduced sentence -- from higher courts."

Of course, that was in California. This could never happen in north Idaho.

Well, we hope not.


Blogger Pbaby~ said...

Wow! Very well said. Unfortunately I am one of those cases you were talking about, although not a high profile one. I am just a single mother who was a Realtor with two little boys to raise all by myself. What I can tell you though, is that Santa Clara County put me through absolute Hell until I was dead broke, until I had literally no money left with which to fight them with.

It was only then that I realized that their desire to prosecute me so harshly wasn't personal, it was just about the money and their careers. They had absolutely NO interest in actual Justice. This realization is what truly scared me, and the fact that they had no regard for the people whose lives they were ruining. I was an innocent, who was put in jail, lost my Realtor's licence and financially ruined. And all of this because "they" didn't want to do the work required to investigate the case properly. It was much easier to just loose the evidence we did have, and call it a guilty. Anyway that was 6 years ago, and I am still paying for it, as far as getting a good job goes anyway. When does the bleeding end? To date they still won't even clear my record (as per the Law) I applied 27 times, so as far as I am concerned I am still paying.

So I just wanted to say thank you for calling attention to what I feel was a serious scandal, and should not be taken lightly. I believe if more people were aware of just how corrupt the system is, they wouldn't be so quick to judge.

4:00 AM, November 13, 2013  

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