Let’s prosecute some prosecutors

It’s time to put the brakes on one of the most egregious examples of just how evil government can become in asserting its power over the people. It’s time to curb the excesses of over-zealous prosecutors who are turning poor decisions by individuals into criminal acts. Too often, they convert simple negligence or civil blunders into crimes. It’s a far-left concept: “Somebody” must be held responsible for every bad thing that happens.

Two over-the-top final straws were recently heaped onto the camel’s back in America and Italy. Get this: Italian prosecutors convinced a court to convict six scientists for manslaughter because they failed to predict a deadly earthquake.

irsbuildibgAnd in the United States, Internal Revenue Service prosecutors were reversed and blown out of the courtroom when a federal appeals court reversed “conspiracy” convictions of two Ernst & Young employees. These men had given a favorable opinion for a tax shelter designed to avoid (not evade) paying tax on a gain from the sales of businesses. The court ruled there was no criminal intent.

But these are only recent examples in the sordid and escalating history of abuses by prosecutors. Our most basic liberty — the constitutional right to have a jury decide our guilt — is being eroded. Too much power in the hands of vengeful or politically ambitious “enforcers” can ruin reputations that have taken a lifetime to build and, worse, ruin lives. There are innumerable examples of prosecutors going on accusation sprees or trying invented cases in the press, with no serious personal downside to the prosecutor.

And there’s not much that’s more repulsive than the government regulator who abuses public power to siphon money from the private sector under the guise of “protecting the people.”

Aren’t convinced? Let’s review some egregious examples of prosecutors run amok:

  • Prosecutors nailed U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens in 2008, enhancing their reputations by bagging him on an ethics conviction two weeks before Election Day. He lost the race, of course, but a few months later, his conviction was set aside due to outrageous prosecutorial missteps.
  • Years ago, the big accounting firm of Arthur Andersen was forced out of business by criminal charges, a celebratory bloody scalp taken by the Justice Department. The U.S. Supreme Court later threw out the charges.
  • Psychiatrist Peter Gleason committed suicide before an appeals court vindicated him in 2011 on charges made in a Justice Department crusade against him.
  • Prosecutor Mike Nifong falsely accused Duke lacrosse team players of rape.
  • A couple of railyard workers were charged with insider trading by prosecutors because they correctly guessed their company would be sold.
  • New York Attorneys General Elliott Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo politicized their offices by attacking insurance giant AIG. Much later, a court tossed the convictions of five insurance executives.
  • The Manhattan district attorney was slammed in 2004 by a jury decision acquitting the general counsel of Tyco on charges of fraud and grand larceny.
  • A U.S. attorney’s conviction of banker Frank Quattrone was overturned.
  • The Justice Department wrecked the lives of two lobbyists in the Aipac case, then saw the case fall apart in court.
  • Steve Hatfill’s trial in the anthrax mail attacks ended in clear evidence that the FBI and Justice Department had tried the wrong man.

I am not lumping Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg with those prosecutors who abuse their power. There is no evidence Aronberg fits this mold, and, in fact, he appears to be a student of the abuses that other prosecutors have succumbed to.

scales-of-justiceClearly, we need the prosecutorial function in society to cull out true bad guys. But we don’t need prosecutors stretching and bending the law when lesser sanctions are fitting.

When a prosecutor charges someone with a crime, that person must spend a ton of his/her own money to defend the charge and suffer the anguish, whether the case results in guilt or innocence. In the end, many who are innocent may still face bankruptcy.

When prosecutors invent crimes, it violates not only fairness doctrines but also legal principles imbedded in American jurisprudence. Abusive prosecutors need to face penalties, and the entire area of prosecutorial powers needs review and reform.

John R. Smith

John R. Smith

John R. Smith is chairman of BIZPAC, the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County, and owner of a financial services company.
John R. Smith

Comments

10 thoughts on “Let’s prosecute some prosecutors

  1. actually, Mr. Smith there is daily evidence of misconduct by the office of Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg…if you talk to police officers in the County, you will find that Aronberg’s office REFUSES to indict perps that the cops catch…Aronberg’s office typically requires unnecessary extra evidence requirements before indicting…the net/net of our local gubbermint criminal injustice system is that Palm Beach is turning into a 3rd World country because the criminals are NOT being even being indicted…and you SHOULD KNOW that they’re not being incarcerated either, they’re roaming free to commit new crimes.

  2. Rex says:

    Prosecutor Misconduct was created by Law makers, but is seldom used on their own people.
    A man commits a murder and tells his lawyer to get him off on either self defense or some other way.
    The man told the lawyer, “I killed the N____R, because he deserved it.” This was recorded and was attempted to be played by the prosecution and the judge said, “Tainted witness evidence.”
    The lawyer moved for a mistrial and the judge granted it.
    The case never went to court again.
    The man got away with murder and the state helped him do it.
    The state and lawyer should have been prosecuted.
    Lawyer have an ESCAPE CLAUSE against being put on trial.
    A lawyer in Dothan Alabama, A judge and a District attorney from Mobile, Alabama had prosecuted sex cases in their career. But they got caught with having sex and pornographic materials with children. Look at their cases. SLAP on the back of the hand (or maybe their butts) but no justice as the law provides for people other than LAWYERS.

    Where is their any justice?

  3. Chance Hammond says:

    It’s the job of the cops to catch people they believe have done wrong. It’s Aronberg’s job to determine if there is sufficient evidence to take it to court and prosecute. If there is insufficient evidence, Aronberg’s attorneys will get their heads handed to them in court. Therefore, it is not the job of the police, who have no legal training to understand court precedents or the weight of evidence, to decide what gets prosecuted and what does not.

  4. Okeydoker says:

    This author has a complete misunderstanding of what role prosecutors play in the system. But he is right that corrupt political hacks have no business in prosecution.

  5. Valerie Calley says:

    There is an easy fix for this. Loser pays. If the accused is found not guilty or the judge dismisses the case, then the state pays the defendant’s legal fees. Prosecutors will think twice about bringing specious cases to court. No more bankrupting defendants or blitzing them with charges in order to drive up the cost of their defense so that they are forced to plea or their lawyers quit and they have to use a public defender.

    1. Robert says:

      I like your idea, but think it doesn’t go far enough. When someone is indicted for a crime, it can, quite literally, ruin their lives, even if they are found innocent. People lose their jobs, their families, their reputations, all at the all-too-often politically motivated actions of a public official who receives no negative consequences for being dead wrong. Also, despite the fact that the Constitution is supposed to be slanted on the side of the accused (presumption of innocence), prosecutors’ offices almost all have far larger budgets than those of Public Defenders’ offices.

      I think it’s time to start applying malpractice principles to the prosecutors. They have the power to wreak far more havoc on the lives of innocents than ANY doctor…let them face personal financial responsibility for not merely legal fees, but actually for the damages they have caused to the innocent by reckless prosecution.

      Of course, since lawmakers are politicians and often lawyers, they are never going to actually have the moral courage to hold prosecutors accountable. That would require integrity.

  6. jlp5871 says:

    You will find most if not all are democRAT prosecutors the sewer scum pervert communist.

  7. Kenneth Clark says:

    Shall we begin with Mr. Holder? He and his underlings (also Prosecutors) refuse regularly to enforce good laws over political personal gain and stand behind sovereign immunity to escape accountability and responsibility. This sovereign immunity was designed to protect from honest mistakes not blatant disregard for the rule of law or abuse of power under the color of law.

    Let’s start at the top and work down. Bet we would see many changes in the way prosecutors attack individuals as well as corporate foes who’s only issue is they will not go along with the philosophies of Holder and Company.

  8. ChrisYAHanWatcher4YAH says:

    The demonic Cancer of Corruption has Militant[ly] SEIZED control of the Legal Mercenary Monopoly of the Satanic Luciferian

    Star BAR Chamber of Horrors where every thing Is legal (for some elites) and NO Thing is Illegal for Others (that is the rest of US;
    NOT BAR affiliated) these Legal Terrorists and Black Robed Priest Kults of Ba’al MO Loch and Isis / Th EL E MA / Ish tAHrte?

    Pray for Devine deliverance from the Kult of Liars their Talmudic Law of Rhetoric is Illogi-cAH-EL: “One must LIE in order to speak the TRUTH” is delusional and defies common law and sense? Pray for the CREATOR’S Devine Intercession?

    Deliver US from Evile.

  9. francis says:

    Impeachments and High Treason and murders

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