Tuesday, February 02, 2010

San Jose judge boycott continues

I mentioned before that the San Jose prosecutors were boycotting a particular judge. The San Jose prosecutors are defending their boycott, with this letter in today's newspaper:
Boycott of judge was necessary

I recently retired after almost 29 years with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, during which time I never once disqualified a judge.

Yet when I heard of Judge Andrea Bryan's outrageous decision in the sex exam tapes case, I immediately urged my former colleagues to blanket disqualify her.

Such an action is extremely rare and only egregious conduct justifies it. Judge Bryan's record as a judge was so poor in the past that this latest decision put her in that category.

I personally had only two preliminary hearings in her department, and she made decisions in each of them that can only be described as horrible. Other prosecutors report similar experiences.

I am sure the office did not come to its decision to blanket disqualify Judge Bryan easily.

However, it is clear that the decision was not an act of peevishness over a single decision, no matter how bad that decision was. Rather, it protects the criminal process from biased judgment.

Stan Voyles
Los Gatos
Here is the story that caused the dispute:
Judge orders man freed over prosecutor's conduct
The Associated Press
Posted: 01/06/2010 07:14:17 PM PST

SAN JOSE, Calif.—A man serving time in a child molestation case will be freed after a judge ruled there was prosecutorial misconduct in the case.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Andrea Bryan on Wednesday ordered that Augustin Uribe be released from prison because of what the judge termed "numerous acts of misconduct" by Deputy District Attorney Troy Benson.

Uribe was serving a sentence of 38 years to life after being convicted in 2006 of child molestation.

The ruling comes after an appellate court finding in 2008 that determined the District Attorney's Office had improperly withheld a videotape of the purported victim's physical exam.

The District Attorney's Office termed Wednesday's ruling as "factually and legally flawed." The office is considering an appeal.
The newspaper said this: Editorial: DA Carr's pattern of arrogance goes unchecked.

To recapitulate, the prosecutors convicted a man while refusing to give him the videotape that would have proved his innocence. The judge and the appellate court ruled that the man is entitled to a new trial with the videotape. Whether he is innocent or guilty, he is entitled to a fair trial.

If I worked in that prosecutors' office, I would want to reexamine the evidence to see whether a new trial is justified, and if so, quietly try him again. Instead the prosecutors have chosen to generate a lot of publicity out of this, and to try to scapegoat the judge.

Prosecutors are the sort of people who never admit that they make mistakes. Furthermore, the bigger the mistake, the more stubbornly they dig in their heels. If they send an innocent man away to prison for 38 years, then they will lie, cheat, steal, and do whatever they have to do in order to keep that man in prison. And they have a high degree of confidence that they can get away with it, or else they would not be pursuing this arrogant boycott.

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