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Justice Dept. Ensures Prosecutors Brush Up on Duties - USATODAY

Justice Dept. Ensures Prosecutors Brush Up on Duties - USATODAY

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10/7/10 2:41 AMustice Dept. ensures prosecutors brush up on duties - USATODAY.comPage 1 of 3http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/judicial/2010-09-22-prosecutor-reform-side_N.htm?csp=obinsite
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U.S. Attorney GeneralEric Holder 
By Nicholas Kamm,AFP/Getty Images Enlarge
By Gerald Herbert, APSen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, leaves federal court inWashington, in 2008, after a guilty verdict wasreturned by the jury at his trial. The verdict wasoverturned months later when a judge foundprosecutors hid evidence.
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Justice Dept. ensures prosecutors brushup on duties
Updated 9/23/2010 10:24 AM |
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ByBrad Heath, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — The JusticeDepartment is taking steps to makesure federal prosecutors live up totheir constitutional duty to turn over evidence to the people they chargewith crimes.Those changes followed the collapselast year of the government'scorruption case against former Alaskasenator Ted Stevens.Thedepartment dropped the casemonths after a jury found Stevensguilty,because the governmentconceded that prosecutors had hiddenevidence that could have undermined the testimony of their star witness.
JUSTICE IN BALANCE:
Prosecutors' conduct can tip thescales
Wrongfully jailed man: 'It can happen to you'
Investigate misconduct cases weID'dAs a result, Attor ney General Eric Holder lastyear  ordered all federal prosecutors to get a half-day of training in their duty to share evidence with defendants.This year, he added a requirement that all prosecutorsget two more hours of training every year. And heinstructed every U.S. attorney's office to come up withwritten plans, due at the end of September, to helpprosecutors figure out what evidence must be sharedand when.
Better access promised
For years, some prosecutors gave defense attorneysaccess to all the evidence in their files, while others — even in the same office — did not, said AndrewGoldsmith, whom Holder appointed to coordinate the effort. Goldsmith said the changes will givedefendants better and more consistent access to evidence.In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled that defendants have a constitutional right to know about evidence thatcould help prove their innocence.A USA TODAY investigation identified 201 cases in which judges overturned convictions or faultedprosecutors for misconduct. Among those cases, failing to turn over evidence was the most commonproblem."Misconduct is absolutely unacceptable, and I think we have to do everything we can to train and provideadequate resources to our prosecutors," said Lanny Breuer, the head of the department's criminal division.Jim Lavine, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, called the changes "asignificant step in the right direction." But he said they have not stopped prosecutors from concealingevidence.The defense lawyers association and others, including a handful of judges, have urged federal courts torevise their procedural rules to require more disclosure.The rules now require prosecutors to turn over only evidence that could tip the outcome of a trial; theproposed change would require disclosure of all evidence favorable to the defendant.
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10/7/10 2:41 AMustice Dept. ensures prosecutors brush up on duties - USATODAY.comPage 2 of 3http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/judicial/2010-09-22-prosecutor-reform-side_N.htm?csp=obinsite
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Posted 9/23/2010 3:32 AMUpdated 9/23/2010 10:24 AME-mail | Save | Print | Reprints & Permissions |
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9/26/2010 7:17:53 PM
The fact that they agree some coaching needs to be done is a huge agreement with thepremise that abuse is common and is occurring across all the DOJ. Two hours a year of coaching is a joke.They need some downside. They need to be prosecuted for breaking the law, they need tolose their jobs, they need to be passed over for promotions, they need to be able to be suedby the victims. None of this is happening so nothing will change until the public is aware of itand they contact congress and their party and tell everyone they know about this abuse.Go to www.ungagged.net to see how bad it is.Since, the Enron people were prosecuted abusively it seems that is OK for most people. Thisis a threat to all citizens. Watch the movies of the NatWest3 or the Broadband guys and seehow bad it is. See the Epilogue if you want to be scared by the abuse of the system. Fivethousand prosecutors are looking for someone to put in prison. They do not want to everylose. They are motivated by winning not by doing Justice.
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9/24/2010 6:27:56 PM
What really needs to happen is for someone to look into Eric Holder's time in private sector between administrations. He used his contacts in the doj to go after people that he did notlike. People that were opposing clients he represented as well as those in the opposingpolitical scene. This happened more than once and sooner or later I pray that it will come tolight. The man is beyond evil!
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9/23/2010 7:43:48 PM
"The rules now require prosecutors to turn over only evidence that could tip the outcome of atrial;" (the proposed change would require disclosure of all evidence favorable to thedefendant. ") I can't hardly believe this nonsense!!! Up until now it must have been theprosecutors who determined which "evidence would tip the outcome of a trial". How absurd.Isn't it supposed to be the jury's job to sort through the evidence? Why even bother with a jurythen.? I'm certain that prosecutors ingnor exculpitory evedence all the time. The only reasonfor them NOT to turn over evedence is because they think they might lose the case. That's thereal problem with the confrontational "justice" system.
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9/23/2010 6:03:54 PM
The tougher rules go into effect immediately for everyone......except for black radical racists standing at polling places with clubs in their hands.
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