Monday, September 28, 2009

It's been said you should never answer questions from a cop

without an attorney beyond "May I see your license?"; it seems the prosecutors make that an even better idea.
In November, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on Pottawattamie v. McGhee in order to resolve it. The facts of the case aren't in dispute. In 1978, a retired Iowa police captain was killed by a shotgun blast while working as a private security guard. Prosecutors Joseph Hrvol and David Richter then worked with local police to manufacture evidence against the two chief suspects, Terry Harrington and Curtis McGhee, Jr. The two men were convicted of the murder in separate trials, and each was sentenced to life without parole.

The Iowa Supreme Court set aside both convictions in 2003, citing exculpatory evidence pointing to another suspect that was withheld from defense counsel in both trials. Both men were eventually released from prison. Seeking damages for losing 25 years of their lives, they brought a civil rights suit against the police, prosecutors, and county that convicted them. Hrvol and Richter maintain that under the Supreme Court's decision in the 1976 case Imbler v. Pacthman, they have absolute immunity against such a suit
Bad enough, right? Two prosecutors deliberately, with malice aforethought you could say, frame innocent men into prison. But it gets worse:
Hrvol and Richter contend that prosecutorial immunity gives government officials the right to coerce witnesses to lie, withhold evidence pointing to a suspect's innocence, and work with police to manufacture false evidence of guilt, then use that evidence to win false convictions that send two men to prison for 25 years. Their motivation for making this argument is obvious; they'd rather not pay for their misconduct. But they're supported in amicus briefs filed by the U.S. Solicitor General, the National District Attorneys Association, and the attorneys general of 27 states and the District of Columbia. Notably, Cook County, Illinois, home to a number of wrongful convictions, also filed its own brief in support of the prosecutors.

My first thought involves very unsocial behavior. For a bunch of law enforcement and Justice Department 'professionals' to argue that one of their number who lies in court, frames innocent people and sends them to prison should be immune from being sued... reminds me of the bastards in Congress who had such cows when the FBI served a search warrant on Jeffords and searched his office; they seemed to believe their offices were somehow immune to the laws everyone else has to obey. Now we see that these clowns think the same thing; that they shouldn't have to face the same kind of penalties that you or I would for doing such wrongs.

Any prosecutor who knowingly uses false evidence, let alone frames an innocent into prison this way, should not only be sued, they should be prosecuted and jailed. Assuming we could find an honest prosecutor who'd handle the case.

Which, from the sound of this crap, I wonder.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like the two innocent men were Nifonged. And yes, all parties who were knowingly involved in the framing should be criminally and civilly prosecuted. No immunity, as they were NOT DOING THEIR JOBS.

Barring that, how about a contract with the local godfather to send Guido to break a few major and minor body joints (elbows, knees, fingers)?

B Woodman

Memphis Steve said...

Honest prosecutor? Never heard of such a thing.

Fire said...

In order to find an honest prosecutor you'd have to catch them right out of law school....before they handle 3 or 4cases for a Firm. You get them after that, they're masters at getting "around" things.