Bhupender Singh walked free on Friday after the Delhi High Court acquitted him of the 1999 murder of the wife of his former employer. Singh had been convicted in 2006, after fingerprints were found in his employers house. The fingerprint evidence was highly contentious, and never dealt with satisfactorily, but the High Court has now decided that Singh can go free, because there was not sufficient evidence for the conviction.
Read more here… HC acquits man of murder 14 yrs after he was jailed
We’ve written before about how bad defense lawyers are responsible for as many wrongful convictions as anything else (see the section on “bad lawyers” in Why I Think the US Justice System is Broken – and Why It’s Not Getting Fixed). But what about on the prosecution side? The thought of legally unqualified prosecution attorneys – and this includes staff – is scary.
So this brings us to the question – when is a lawyer not a lawyer? Apparently, the answer may be – when they practice in Arizona. Get this — it’s actually not illegal to practice law in Arizona without a license.
Karyl Krug is a highly regarded Texas attorney who was transplanted to Arizona. What she encountered in the Arizona legal system was cause for profound dismay. She tells her own story here.
News coverage following the passing of Nelson Mandela has prompted the rescheduling of “An Unreal Dream,” the true account of Michael Morton’s wrongful conviction of the murder of his wife, Christine; his 25 years of wrongful incarceration; and his exoneration. The documentary will premier instead this Sunday evening, Dec. 8, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on CNN TV. See details here.
As part of its focus on the Morton case, CNN reports on five cases identified as “high-profile exonerations” (here). In addition to the case of Michael Morton, the article highlights the exonerations of Brian Banks, Douglas Prade, Clarence Harrison, and James Bain.
The Center for Prosecutor Integrity, in December 2013, published a white paper titled An Epidemic of Prosecutor Misconduct.
Appendix B from that paper is a table listing documented cases of prosecutorial misconduct and in how many of those cases sanctions were imposed.
(For the sources footnoted, please refer to the paper.)
Out of 3,625 documented cases of prosecutorial misconduct, sanctions were imposed in only 63 of them – 1.7%.
Isn’t it about time for some prosecutorial accountability and sanctions for misconduct?
Michael Morton’s remarkable story of wrongful conviction for the 1986 murder of his wife Christine, his 25 years of incarceration, and his exoneration, will be told to a national audience when the documentary “An Unreal Dream,” written and directed by two-time academy award nominee, Al Reinert, premiers on CNN tomorrow night, Thursday, December 5, at 9:00 p.m. ET and PT. According to CNN (here) the documentary seeks to “demonstrates that Morton’s story is not unique.” Continue reading
Russell Covey has posted the above-titled article on SSRN. Download copy here.
The abstract states:
This study gathers data from two mass exonerations resulting from major police scandals, one involving the Rampart division of the L.A.P.D., and the other occurring in Tulia, Texas. To date, these cases have received little systematic attention by wrongful convictions scholars. Study of these cases, however, reveals important differences among subgroups of wrongful convictions. Whereas eyewitness misidentification, faulty forensic evidence, jailhouse informants, and false confessions have been identified as the main contributing factors leading to many wrongful convictions, the Rampart and Tulia exonerees were wrongfully convicted almost exclusively as a result of police perjury. In addition, unlike other exonerated persons, actually innocent individuals charged as a result of police wrongdoing in Rampart or Tulia only rarely contested their guilt at trial. As is the case in the justice system generally, the great majority pleaded guilty. Accordingly, these cases stand in sharp contrast to the conventional wrongful conviction story. Study of these groups of wrongful convictions sheds new light on the mechanisms that lead to the conviction of actually innocent individuals.