Thursday, June 28, 2007

The power of the district attorney

I have a Google Alert for the phrase "death penalty Pennsylvania." Whenever these words come up in the media, I get an email with a link to the article.

Yesterday this came up:
DAs Running Wild
TomPaine.com - Washington,DC,USA
While former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong is no longer free to deny justice to other defendants, the prosecutors in many of those death penalty ...

This drew my attention. What happened to Mike Nifong in Durham, NC, was an aberration. Usually when district attorneys behave badly, nothing happens. Sometimes they even get promoted.

Much to my surprise, the authors of the article were Christopher Hill and William Webster of the ACLU's Capital Punishment Project:
While the Duke players faced a real risk of going to prison, there are other citizens of North Carolina and elsewhere across the country who have faced even greater risks because of prosecutorial misconduct, who have been sent to death row and even been executed. While former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong is no longer free to deny justice to other defendants, the prosecutors in many of those death penalty cases are still allowed to practice law. State ethics boards have, in effect, allowed death before disbarment.

While Mike Nifong deserved what he got, there are many more DAs and ADAs who deserve the same fate. Some of them are working in DA offices in Pennsylvania.

The article goes on to mention the case of Dennis Counterman of Allentown. Then-ADA Richard Tomsho withheld at least seven pieces of evidence that pointed to Counterman's innocence in the house fire that killed Counterman's three sons. With that crucial evidence hidden from the defense, Counterman landed on Pennsylvania's death row. It was only after 18 years in prison that Counterman finally found a twisted form of justice when he was released after winning a new trial and then taking a plea bargain.

(Paul Carpenter of The Morning Call of Allentown effectively took Tomsho to task in a column last fall.)

And Tomsho? He now works for Attorney General Tom Corbett. There are rumblings that Corbett wants to run for governor. If Corbett hires someone like Tomsho for his AG staff, who would he hire for his gubernatorial staff? Tony Soprano?

Andy in Harrisburg

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another D.A. that deserves disbarment is Montgomery County's Bruce Castor.

3:04 AM  
Anonymous Carla J said...

I see cases all the time where current DA Lynne Abraham is invoved in denying rules of the law.

I have ALSO seen cases in court in Philadelphia with

no certified records

no warrants and non valid complaints.

Trust me, just TALKING about it means NOTHING. There are PLENTY of people that know what's going on and say NOTHING. The law states that these people are JUST as guilty that the DA's are!

In order for MANY of the actions of the DA's to get the point that they are, there HAS to be cooperating Judges.

You need a JUDGE to sign for tha warrant, but they seem to JUST look at the DA. The are EQUALLY CULPABLE.

ANY JUDGE OR ATTORNEY WHO DOES NOT REPORT JUDGES FOR TREASON AS REQUIRED BY LAW MAY THEMSELVES BE GUILTY OF MISPRISION OF TREASON, 18 U.S.C. SECTION 2382.

We KNOW many of these are violations of the Constitution as in the Nifong case.

THE U.S. SUPREME COURT HAS STATED THAT "NO STATE LEGISLATOR OR EXECUTIVE OR JUDICIAL OFFICER CAN WAR AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION WITHOUT VIOLATING HIS UNDERTAKING TO SUPPORT IT.". COOPER V. AARON, 358 U.S. 1, 78 S.CT. 1401 (1958).

11:56 PM  
Blogger lesleeah said...

A Fed Prosecutor has been going about her business it seems, forever on the Island of Guam. We, as a family are currently under HER indictment concerning the operation of our licensed FREE zoo we operated for years there. She stacked up charges that are ridiculous, hurtful, and yet gets away with losing cases involving homeland security. She is a animal rights nut, that operates a local animal shelter, and has taken it upon herself to file all of these charges. Such an abuse of power,and she is known for thi, and half the island is afraid of her. So here our family sits, in NM, retired several years agon, and along comes this. We have been arrested, shackled, held, could lose our home, our employment and all, with no one caring about our rights. This is a known corrupt island that everyone looks the other way. Story goes, she could not make it in the States thusly she stays in POWER there. A shame that we, as a family have lost our patriotic feelings about the USA and her judicial "justice"...

12:29 PM  

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