Recently an article was published in the "Kansas City Star" on the issue of prosecutorial misconduct. This is an issue that has been overlooked and ignored for far too long. And yet, the issue goes far deeper than just the misconduct of a prosecutor.
Once upon a time in America, long ago, a person was presumed to be innocent until proven guilty by a jury of his/her peers. Unfortunately, in modern American this is no longer the case. If you are unlucky enough to be arrested and find yourself in one of American's courtrooms, the jurors chosen as your peers automatically assume you are guilty or you would not have found your way into the courts. This automatic assumption of guilt only makes the task of the prosecution that much simplier.
To add to the burden of the defense. The defendant is often appointed a public defender who is; underpaid, overworked, unprepared and indifferent. The judicial process that we as Americans follow dates back centuries to the Viking era. It is supposed to be adversarial in nature, pitting the skills of the states champion against the skills of the champion for the accused. In far to many cases the advesary for the accused does not realize or care that the fate of his client is at stake. Defense attorneys get no bonus or prize for winning and seldom does a defense attorney aspire to be more than he/she is. A prosecuting attorney on the other hand can use their position as a stepping stone into the medias bright spotlight, a Judgeship, a position in the Federal Courts, or a place in the state Legislature or Senate.
A successful prosecuting attorney is afforded limitless opportunities for personal advancement. If you have doubts, just check and see how many of your State Legislators and Senators were once local prosecuting attorneys. Judgeships are also a reward for being a successful prosecutor. Many of the judges who sit upon the Appellant and Supreme courts were once State prosecutors. With this in mind is it any wonder why there are so few cases overturned?
Justice is an expensive commodity that few can afford or even wish for. Not only can you bankrupt oneself trying to pay for it, but when your out of money, you're also out of luck.
Since the beginning of the Reagan/Bush years and the war on crime, Americans have spent billions building new prisons and warehousing men and women across the nation. There is now an estimated two million prisoners serving time in America, many have been imprisoned for 15 years or more. The American courts are no longer geared to defending the innocent. For example, just look at the number of exonerations of death row inmates in the last 3-years across the United States due to DNA evidence. These are Men and Women whose lives were ruined and utterly destroyed and who would have been put to death if not for this one last breakthrough in science. How many more individuals have been wrongly convicted of crimes that do not have the benefit of DNA evidence to clear their names? How many have already been executed in the name of Justice?
A prosecutor is taught that he/she is expected to win at any cost. A prosecutor will tell you that he is protecting your rights and the rights of the victim. But what happens when the prosecutors eye is turned toward you or someone you love. Is it still okay for them to break the rules to get the conviction? Statistics show that 4 out of 10 people will find themselves in a courtroom sometimme in their lifetime for one reason or another. What if you are one of those unfortunate 4 out of 10?
Our criminal justice system was designed to be fair and impartial. How can it be fair or impartial when the only voice being listened to is that of the prosecuting attorney? Once we as Americans were known as "Doubting Thomas" and "Show me Idealists." We were determined to prove an accused guilty or innocent beyond a reasonable doubt. What happened to those ideals we fought so diligently for?
227 years ago our founding fathers signed the United State Consitution. The Constitution was founded on the principle that everyone was created equal and everyone had the right to justice and freedom. Slowly but assuredly those rights that our forefathers fought and died for are being stripped away by our elected politicians and by liberal rights groups who shout "But the Constitution does not cover that"! The U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights is our heritage and it is also our responsiblity. Preserving the rights that our ancestors fought and died for should be the task of every American who believes in this nation. Always remember that this nations government was founded on one basic idea. A government for the people and by the people. But in order for that premise to work, You as John and Jane doe citizen MUST allow your voice to be heard. Know your rights as a citizen of this nation and teach your children. If these rights are not preserved in time they will no longer be your rights and privileges...