USA Today just published a story about Nino Lyons, who was exonerated of drug trafficking charges for which he was convicted in 2001. It’s a very “telling” article. Here is the lead-in to the story:
“For more than a week in 2001, the jurors listened to one witness after another, almost all of them prison inmates, describe how Lyons had sold them packages of cocaine. One said that Lyons, who ran clothing shops and nightclubs around Orlando, even tried to hire him to kill two drug suppliers.
But the federal prosecutors handling the case did not let the jury hear all the facts.
Instead, the prosecutors covered up evidence that could have discredited many of Lyons’ accusers. They never revealed that a convict who claimed to have purchased hundreds of pounds of cocaine from Lyons struggled even to identify his photograph. And they hid the fact that prosecutors had promised to let others out of prison early in exchange for their cooperation.”
See full story here.
Quoted in the article is Pace University law professor Bennett Gershman, an expert on misconduct by prosecutors. “It’s systemic now, and … the system is not able to control this type of behavior. There is no accountability.” (emphasis is mine)
The article focuses on federal prosecutors, but why would this situation be any different at state and local levels? My expectation is that it’s not. I’ve heard prosecutors quoted as saying “We will win at all cost.”
There has to be some accountability for these people who are invested with so much power, but it seems there is not.