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Why Would A Prosecutor Do This? I Don't Understand  
User currently offlineFSPilot747 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 3599 posts, RR: 12
Posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2674 times:

DNA exoneration of inmates and those on death row is not uncommon. In fact, in 2002, CNN had an article discussing the exoneration of 110 prisoners based on DNA alone. Many of whom were on death row. Imagine how many times we have falsely put people to death (the only reason I am against the death penalty).

Well, I was reading this article on msnbc: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15117639/

Note this:
______________

"James Owens Jr., 46, and James Thompson Jr., 47, were convicted in 1988 of stabbing and strangling Colleen Williar during what police and prosecutors described as a burglary that became a rape and murder.

The two are serving life sentences, Owens without chance of parole.

The new tests were conducted on semen recovered from a pair of jeans that were kept by the medical examiner's office, said the Office of the Public Defender.

Despite opposition by prosecutors, the sample was released in May 2006 for testing, about two years after defense attorneys made their first request.

Tests results became available late last month, showing the semen did not belong to Owens or Thompson."

______________

Here's what I don't understand. Why would prosecutors be against proof that would exonerate someone they wrongly convicted? Do they just want conviction, guilty or not? Do they not care if they have the wrong guy in prison or on death row?

I think that DNA testing should be mandatory under circumstances where it could exonerate (or rightly convict) a suspect. That a prosecutor/prosecutors would be against bringing in irrefutible evidence like this blows my mind.

Or is there more to this?

People have even argued with me that mandating DNA testing would be too expensive. Would you rather have the wrong guy in prison or put to death than spend a little extra cash? Give me a break. Sick.

59 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineRedngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 44
Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2673 times:

Because prosecutors, like almost any other human being, hate to be proven wrong. Some also feel that DNA retesting isn't worth the expense if the rest of their evidence is strongly in favor of their case. In other words, they don't want to waste taxpayers' money on a stab in the dark (no pun intended.)

I'm in favor of wasting taxpayers' money if it has bearing on a life in prison or death sentence.



Up, up and away!
User currently offlineFSPilot747 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 3599 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2660 times:

This is what taxpayer money is for. You keep the masses safe by putting the right people behind bars, not the people you can eloquently convince a jury are the "right" people.

If we need to add "and if so requested, DNA testing must be conducted" into the Bill of Rights, then so be it.

[Edited 2006-10-16 01:01:29]

User currently offlineDarrenthe747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2660 times:

I would guess that prosecuting attornies don't want to look like idiots. If they (the convicted) are proven not guilty then they would look bad because they have put the wrong guy away and the real killer is still on the loose...in other word they failed to do their job and they'll get the boot. It's truly disturbing to think that you could have destroyed a person's life and you have the tools to right the wrong but you won't because of your narcissistc ego. I think that it is a blatant example of obstruction of justice and those opposed to it belong behind bars themselves.

User currently offlineAirCop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2650 times:

Quoting FSPilot747 (Thread starter):
Why would prosecutors be against proofrnthat would exonerate someone they wrongly convicted? Do they just wantrnconviction, guilty or not

Yes, the scariest event in one life could be a prosecutor with an agenda. Other times it was just bad police work, and the pressure in the community demands an conviction.

Quoting FSPilot747 (Thread starter):
Do they not care if they have the wrong guy in prison or on death row?

Looks bad when its time to come up for reelection and as Redngold wrote

Quoting Redngold (Reply 1):
prosecutors, like almost any other human being, hate to be proven wrong


User currently offlineDarrenthe747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2637 times:

Quoting Redngold (Reply 1):
Because prosecutors, like almost any other human being, hate to be proven wrong.

While I too hate to be proven wrong, if it were in the case of me sending a man to death row I would want to know then for sure.


User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2624 times:

Quoting FSPilot747 (Thread starter):
Why would prosecutors be against proof that would exonerate someone they wrongly convicted?

Along with what Redngold and AirCop offered, Prosecutors are just like Defense Attorneys: They play to win and don't like to lose. Notice the hurt looks on the faces of Prosecutors when they are interviewed following a trial in which the accused was found not guilty.


User currently offlineTPAnx From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1021 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2620 times:

I remember reading that in some states in which a deadline had been set for
requesting DNA testing...prosecutors were destroying evidence. Anyone else have the same recollection??
TPAnx  Yeah sure



I read the news today..oh boy
User currently offlineFSPilot747 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 3599 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2594 times:

Quoting TPAnx (Reply 7):
I remember reading that in some states in which a deadline had been set for
requesting DNA testing

What happened to morals and values?

Quoting TPAnx (Reply 7):
prosecutors were destroying evidence.

Should be a crime consistent with the one they were trying to prove. Capital, even.

The prosecutors in the article I posted should be severely reprimanded, in my opinion. I would think that trying to block evidence like that would call for that.

[Edited 2006-10-16 02:48:07]

User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12150 posts, RR: 49
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2577 times:

Quoting Redngold (Reply 1):
I'm in favor of wasting taxpayers' money if it has bearing on a life in prison or death sentence.

If they are so innocent then let them pay for the tests themselves! Put up or shut up.



You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineNancy From United States of America, joined May 2004, 467 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2555 times:

"If they are so innocent then let them pay for the tests themselves! Put up or shut up."
So only the rich should get justice? Who cares if we lock innocent people up and let the guilty go? Do you honestly think that it is okay to imprison people or kill them because they can not pay to defend themselves? Everyone has a right to a defense. I really hope not. It has been proven that many of these people can't have committed the crimes they were convicted of. This has happened several times in Rochester and quite frankly it disgusts me, not in the least because it may mean that the guilty party is walking around.


User currently onlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26780 posts, RR: 75
Reply 11, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2550 times:

Quoting FSPilot747 (Thread starter):
In fact, in 2002, CNN had an article discussing the exoneration of 110 prisoners based on DNA alone.

Oh the horrors of the "liberal" media  sarcastic 

Quoting FSPilot747 (Thread starter):
Do they just want conviction, guilty or not?

Unfortunately, many do.

Quoting FSPilot747 (Thread starter):
Why would prosecutors be against proof that would exonerate someone they wrongly convicted?

Because it would hurt their "conviction rate"

Quoting FSPilot747 (Thread starter):
Do they not care if they have the wrong guy in prison or on death row?

Many don't

Quoting ShyFlyer (Reply 6):
Prosecutors are just like Defense Attorneys: They play to win and don't like to lose.

Actually, Defense lawyers have a type of Zen. It is called the Zen of losing.

Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 9):
If they are so innocent then let them pay for the tests themselves! Put up or shut up.

Riiiiiiight, so only the rich get justice (like Nancy said). The sad thing is, some people have indeed spent their life savings getting DNA testing done and then get no compensation when they are finally let go. Disgusting.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2544 times:

Quoting ShyFlyer (Reply 6):
Quoting FSPilot747 (Thread starter):Why would prosecutors be against proof that would exonerate someone they wrongly convicted?
Along with what Redngold and AirCop offered, Prosecutors are just like Defense Attorneys: They play to win and don't like to lose. Notice the hurt looks on the faces of Prosecutors when they are interviewed following a trial in which the accused was found not guilty.

Yes, prosecutors don't like to lose. But I doubt most prosecutors would oppose a request for retesting just because they don't want to lose.

I support re-testing DNA, but I do understand why some prosecutors oppose the requests. For example, if you have overwhelming evidence against a defendant - a confession, the gun used in the crime with fingerprints of the defendant, other forensic evidence - how can you be sure the evidence hasn't been tampered with in the decades since it was collected?

And as redngold noted, there is pressure not to waste taxpayers funds.


User currently offlineVikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10330 posts, RR: 26
Reply 13, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2516 times:

Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 9):
If they are so innocent then let them pay for the tests themselves! Put up or shut up.

Wow....I've read some screwed up crap on here before, but damn man!

I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure that most convicted and jailed felons do not exactly have bountiful reserves of money floating around, just waiting for the day when they can pay to have a DNA test.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that I don't have nearly enough money to fund a single test. So if I was falsely imprisoned tomorrow, well shit, I'd be outta luck!

I had no idea that we were SUCH a cutthroat society, that we're unwilling to help out someone that WE falsely imprisoned. Remember, juries are made up of everyday citizens.



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlineDarrenthe747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2503 times:

Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 9):
If they are so innocent then let them pay for the tests themselves! Put up or shut up.

hopefully you can eat your own words some day while you are getting your ass pounded in some dank cell by bubba while saving up for your DNA test.


User currently offlineFSPilot747 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 3599 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 2482 times:

Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 9):

If they are so innocent then let them pay for the tests themselves! Put up or shut up.

Here's a great example of what happens when you combine ignorance with the inability to critically think.


User currently offlineFSPilot747 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 3599 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 2478 times:

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 12):
And as redngold noted, there is pressure not to waste taxpayers funds.

Do you know how much money it costs to keep someone in prison for life? A lot more expensive than a DNA test.


User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2556 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2455 times:

Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 9):
If they are so innocent then let them pay for the tests themselves! Put up or shut up.

Many of the people who wind up in correctional institutions are indigent. In addition, some are mentally ill/incapacitated to the extent that they cannot reasonably be expected to represent their own legal interests. If states were to mandate retroactive DNA testing, they would likely be under legal obligation to pay for the tests for those inmates who are indigent.

One topic that does not come up often is this-what should happen if the DNA results create reasonable doubt of the inmate's guilt? Is the state obligated to compensate the person financially for the time that they were incarcerated? North Carolina did compensate a wrongfully imprisoned person who had served a decade for a rape that he did not commit. His insistance on DNA testing got his attorneys to have the evidence tested (this was when DNA testing first appeared in criminal justice applications). The DNA test results excluded him and on a hunch, police tested another criminal who had been picked up shortly after the man originally charged and convicted had been arrested. The second man was in jail on some other charge, thus allowing the police to obtain a DNA sample. His came back as a match and he confessed to the crime. Even though the original man had been identified by the victim, it was determined to be a case of mistaken identity as both men looked very similar.

In that case, the State of North Carolina paid the released man a tax-exempt payment of more than $140,000 (the exact amount was calculated on what he would have probably earned during the time that he was imprisoned). This was done at the insistance of the victim and a group of citizens who believed that the state should help him. In that case, the District Attorney's office did not oppose the test. After the mistake was found, their response was that while they had given the case their best effort, it obviously wasn't good enough.



"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days ago) and read 2434 times:

Quoting FSPilot747 (Reply 16):
Quoting Halls120 (Reply 12):
And as redngold noted, there is pressure not to waste taxpayers funds.

Do you know how much money it costs to keep someone in prison for life? A lot more expensive than a DNA test.

I agree, but the point is, most of these retests don't exonerate the defendants. Take the case of the now executed Roger Coleman in Virginia. After he was executed for his horrific crime, the then-poster boy of the "he's been falsely accused" crowd kept beating the drums for a retest. So one was finally ordered. And guess what? the test proved that he HAD been the murderer!

If the defendant wants to shell out the coin for a retest, I'm all for it.


User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days ago) and read 2429 times:

Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 9):
If they are so innocent then let them pay for the tests themselves! Put up or shut up.

That's bullshit. The gov't is prosecuting them, let the state foot the bill.

IMO, ever single person charged with a Captial crime should have their DNA tested before trial - and shown as part of the evidence presented at the trial. Sure would save a lot of headache in the long run - and eliminate them as subjects as the case warrants. It would also seal the deal in many cases. Sure would cut down on extraneous court time and costs.


User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2414 times:

Does anyone know what these DNA tests costs? Are we talking thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars per inmate?

User currently offlineFlyingTexan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2408 times:

Quoting Pope (Reply 20):
Does anyone know what these DNA tests costs?

When I had a court-appointed paternity test in 2003, the cost was in the lower thousands . I forget the exact cost, but was told by the State of TX I'd be liable for it if I tested positive (I didn't). The court didn't take too kind to my suggestion the whore I was linked up with should pay the cost. After 4 different paternity tests with 4 different people, the whore found the father.

Of course, a criminal DNA test probably costs many times more.


User currently offlineDarrenthe747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2382 times:

And another reason why we want to know if we are convicting apotentially innocent person is that the real killer/rapist is stillw alking around on the streets.

User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2367 times:

Quoting FlyingTexan (Reply 21):
When I had a court-appointed paternity test in 2003, the cost was in the lower thousands.

Let's say that the necessary tests are 10x or even 20x this - call it $40,000. I can't believe the state would be willing to send an innocent man to death over $40,000, particularly when it costs the state about that much to incarcerate them for a year on death row.


User currently onlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26780 posts, RR: 75
Reply 24, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2362 times:

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 12):
And as redngold noted, there is pressure not to waste taxpayers funds.

If a DNA test is not a waste in a future criminal trial, it sure isn't a waste in exonerating someone who has wrongly sat in prison.

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 18):
If the defendant wants to shell out the coin for a retest, I'm all for it.

Read this:

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 19):
That's bullshit. The gov't is prosecuting them, let the state foot the bill.

Exactly. Further, if a DNA test was not available, they should not have to foot the bill if they have been sitting in jail, not earning money.

Quoting Pope (Reply 20):
Does anyone know what these DNA tests costs? Are we talking thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars per inmate?

Thousands, but it shouldn't matter

Quoting Pope (Reply 23):
I can't believe the state would be willing to send an innocent man to death over $40,000

They can and do all the time.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
25 Halls120 : You apparently have a problem with reading comprehension today. I said RETEST, not original test. I do believe it is indeed the state's responsibilit
26 Vikkyvik : So - just to clarify - you're saying that for people who are already in jail, if there was no DNA test done before, during, or after the trial, that
27 Post contains images ORFflyer : You have GOT to stop making so much sense....
28 Halls120 : If the prisoner was incarcerated based in part on evidence derived from a DNA that was used against him at trial, the state should have paid for that
29 FSPilot747 : If he confessed to the crime, chances are he wouldn't have wanted a DNA test. There is a good chance that if a defendant is aware of the possibility
30 Luv2fly : This is what I was saying though it seems I failed in what I was trying to get accross. Also my point is that any criminal you talk to in jail is mos
31 FSPilot747 : If a suspect KNOWS he is guilty, he's not going to ask for a DNA test (if he does, it might be to postpone a death sentence), but it wouldn't really
32 Greasespot : DNA testing, when present should be as automatic as finger printing. I know i know,,,,nuff said GS
33 N1120A : If it was a test taken under tainted conditions, then it is the state's fault and they should pay And if they have no money or had just enough to pay
34 Halls120 : Sad to say, some prosecutors aren't angels. Given that the starting salary for ADA in some localities is pitifully low, it's not surprising that a fe
35 Nancy : The state should pay for a DNA if it might exonerate someone because we shouldn't put innocent people in jail or kill them. The burden of proof is on
36 Fumanchewd : If one innocent person is killed on death row then the entire state is guilty for allowing it to happen. Executions will always kill innocent people o
37 Halls120 : Just like Roger Coleman, right?
38 N1120A : Because that DNA retest may be exactly what they need to determine the prima facie case. Because there are thousands who have been convicted on bad e
39 57AZ : In the situation where a defendant can establish a prima facie case that the original test was flawed/invalid, you are suggesting that the defendant/
40 Post contains images Halls120 : oh, the old "convicted on bad evidence" mantra. Like Roger Coleman? I really am a federal prosecutor. Every April 15th, when you file your tax return
41 LTBEWR : One problem is that many Prosecutors, as well as many trial judges in the the USA are ELECTED positions, not appointments. Even where appointments, be
42 Itsjustme : One question might be, who would make the determination as to whether or not a sufficient amount of questionable guilt and or testable materials is p
43 Gilligan : The story reads that one of the killers made a confession and handed a knife over that he said had been used to commit the murder so my questions are,
44 Post contains links Itsjustme : Interesting how the MSNBC site uses the word "Exonerates" yet this article in the Washington Post merely states the DNA test results "Casts Doubt" on
45 N1120A : Hmmm, perhaps you should check your bluebook and relearn how to cite a case? Further, the 4th circuit has already been heavily criticized for its fin
46 Post contains images Halls120 : LOL, please direct your criticism to Westlaw. I copied their cite verbatim. Regardless of what you think of the 4th Circuit, their ruling hasn't been
47 Post contains links Itsjustme : You say you've practiced law for 22 years yet you make sweeping statements like these? Having been in law enforcement for 20+ years, I find it very d
48 Halls120 : I can't and won't speak for the actions of other prosecutors. All I can do is account for my own actions. And I know that in the cases I've prosecute
49 N1120A : I don't care that you got it from Westlaw, and why are you spending federal tax dollars to try and make a point on something that may be bad law on a
50 Post contains images Halls120 : Did the judge have anything to do with the way I copied the cite from Westlaw? He may very well be. The difference of course, is that he and I are bo
51 N1120A : I learned that trick from you. Not fully, and don't deny that What makes you think I haven't defended anything?
52 Halls120 : Whoa! Stop the presses! Note that in post 49, N1120A said: "Yeah, that explains your disdain for the constitution. It doesn't apply in the military."
53 N1120A : Trial advocacy is a class to help teach trial skills. You are talking about a clinic.
54 Halls120 : OK, clinic. Bottom line, have you ever been in court acting as a lawyer? And don't ignore the other issue at hand. Does the Constitution apply to the
55 Halls120 : Since I doubt you’ve bothered to do any research on this issue before spouting off, here’s some help to get you started. While some legal analyst
56 N1120A : Can a member of the military tell their C/O to go f' themselves without fear of reprisal beyond firing. Further, can a member of the military be fire
57 Post contains images Halls120 : When all else fails, deflect, deflect, deflect, right? Let's remember where we were at the beginning shall we? N1120A - "Yeah, that explains your dis
58 Post contains images Halls120 : Speaking of missing people, anybody see N1120A lately? I wonder if he's scouring the MJ reporter, still looking for evidence that the UCMJ is unconsti
59 Halls120 : So - is the Uniform Code of Military Justice unconstitutional? You've made the claim - are you going to back it up?
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