Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Holding Prosecutors Accountable

What angers Thompson, he said after his exoneration, is that "nobody in the prosecutor's office ever faces charges, nobody has to pay. A slap on the wrist for 'malfeasance' and then they're back at work doing the same old thing." Nick Trenticosta agrees. "As it stands, there are no deterrents to these prosecutors," he says. "If they get caught withholding evidence so what? Nothing happens to them."


This story represents a sorry state of affairs in criminal justice. Wrongful convictions occur sometimes despite the best of intentions. But when prosecutors willfully withhold exculpatory evidence, then they must be held accountable. One way is to levy actual and punitive damages against this egregious conduct. Another is to charge them criminally. But to cloak them in immunity does more damage to the credibility of the system and the confidence of the community in that system. 

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