Michael Kiefer covers courts and the death penalty for The Arizona Republic. He has recently written a four-part series of articles about prosecutorial misconduct in the Arizona courts titled “The Gray Area of Courtroom Conduct.”
Here is an excerpt from the opening section of the Part 1 article:
“There seldom are consequences for prosecutors, regardless of whether the miscarriage of justice occurred because of ineptness or misconduct. In fact, they are often congratulated. Since 1990, six different prosecutors who were named prosecutor of the year by the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys Advisory Committee also were later found by appeals courts to have engaged in misconduct or inappropriate behavior during death-penalty trials, according to The Republic’s examination of court documents.”
You can read Michael Kiefer’s four-part series here.
In editorial fairness, a group of Arizona prosecutors wrote a response to Mr. Kiefer’s articles, which was posted on azcentral.com, and you can read their letter here. Now, exercising editorial privilege, I will have to say this letter could be one of the biggest crocks of BS I have ever read. I particularly like this sentence from the prosecutors’ letter: “The system is designed for the defense in that there are ethical rules that apply only to prosecutors.” So … never mind that prosecutors often pay no attention to those “ethical rules.” The position of prosecutor is endowed with more power of discretion than almost any other elected position. There are things prosecutors can decide and do that even governors cannot decide and do. Additionally, the prosecution has the police, the crime labs, a staff of attorneys, and they are funded by the taxpayers; while the defendant has to pay for his own investigators, forensic testing, and attorneys.
In Mr. Kiefer’s articles, you’ll find frequent mention of Maricopa County. You know, the place where Joe Arpaio is sheriff. More about Maricopa County in future posts.