Many residents of Maryland would agree that the legal system in the country must be completely impartial. Still, there are a number of instances where people have been harassed by prosecutors, which resulted in an unfair trial outcome.
Two men, who were exonerated after 27 years in jail, filed a petition against one of the prosecutors in a major city for violating their constitutional rights and are seeking financial damages. Both the men were convicted for murder and were sentenced to life imprisonment.
The single eyewitness, who testified against the two convicts, was a schizophrenic drug addict. She also testified under a false name in order to hide her criminal records. The defendants and their attorneys were apparently oblivious to all these details and other key evidence. Both of the convicted men sued the district attorney who handled the case following their exoneration in 2002 for letting them stay in prison for years.
Under the law, prosecutors must not hide any evidence that can help exonerate a defendant. However, prosecutors are immune from being sued and can easily get away with procedural misconduct. According to sources, at least 12 people in New Orleans have been exonerated since 1990 due to the prosecutor’s explicit policy of not turning over exculpatory evidence. Nevertheless, the exonerated men have not been able to prove that the office has any policy pertaining to withholding evidence and that there have been shortcomings in how prosecutors are trained.
However, the prosecutor’s office in this city is not the only office that has railroaded defendants due to their aggressive techniques. Quite a few cases pertaining to prosecutorial misconduct are coming to light these days in the United States.
The only way to improve criminal defense in Maryland and throughout the country is by by training or compelling prosecutors to follow the rules of producing all evidence. So if you are charged with a crime, discuss your case with an experienced attorney from a trustworthy criminal law firm who can and will hold the prosecution accountable.
Source: New York Times, “How to Force Prosecutors to Play Fair”, Feb. 16, 2015