Monday, January 25, 2010

DA tells attorneys to boycott judge

The San Jose Mercury News has been covering efforts by local prosecutors to cover up videotapes that exonerate defendants in child sexual abuse cases. Now it reports:
In an extremely rare rebuke of a sitting judge, Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr instructed her staff Friday to stop bringing all criminal cases before Superior Court Judge Andrea Bryan, who recently angered prosecutors by finding that a trial prosecutor committed numerous acts of misconduct, including giving false testimony.

Carr took the unprecedented step of publicly confirming her "blanket challenge," or boycott of Bryan, in a news release, saying her decision was based on a "number" of unspecified rulings over the past several years, not any single embarrassing ruling. ...

Earlier this month, Bryan ordered the release of Augustin Uribe, who had been sentenced to 38 years to life on child molestation charges after finding Deputy District Attorney Troy Benson had woven what she called "a tangled web of deceit," including testifying falsely.

Carr's decision to boycott Bryan means that any time a criminal case is assigned to Bryan's courtroom, prosecutors will invoke their right to issue a peremptory challenge and get the case assigned to another judge.
Wow. I did not know prosecutors could do that. They withhold exculpatory evidence, put innocent
men in prison on bogus sex abuse charges, and testify falsely. So what happens when a judge holds them accountable for what they have done? They just boycott the judge!

I draw a couple of conclusions from this. First, the prosecutors never admit that they made a mistake. Even when a videotape is discovered that proves that a man was wrongly convicted, they fight hard to keep the guy in prison.

Second, the big majority of the judges are gutless stooges who are unwilling to stand up to the prosecutors. A boycott of one particular judge would not do any good if other judges were willing to crack down on falsified evidence.

Third, the DA does not seem to be all worried about adverse publicity in prosecuting innocent men charged with child sex abuse. The Santa Clara DA must have anticipated that this decision would generate in front page story in the newspaper, and did it anyway. My guess is that the DA decided that the publicity would cause some people to blame the judge for being soft on child abusers. She may figure that the average person will see it as just some technical legal or personality dispute.

The issue isn't that complicated. The DA office had a longstanding policy of seizing the kids, doing videotaped interviews of the kids, charging an adult with a crime, and not letting the adult see the videotape, even when it was evidence of his innocence.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

advancement in any prosecutors office, whether at the county, state, or federal level, is by having as many convictions as possible, regardless of how they were achieved. Same with how judges advance. They all want to appear to be "tough on crime", in whatever legal arena they happen to work in (civil, family, criminal, etc).

Just as long as they don't step on the wrong toes of the powerful and connected, though.