22 May 2009

SYSTEMIC FAILURE -- Part 1 -- Prosecutorial Misconduct

The Destruction Of Innocence
By A.F. James MacArthur Ph.A.L.

Baltimore has a really big problem. Violent crime is out of control, and everyone is seeking a solution. Sadly, the police make numerous arrests, yet many result in no prosecution. Margaret Burns, spokeswoman for Baltimore's State's Attorney's office tell us, over 1000 cases per month are tossed out. Worse still, of cases prosecuted, may fail to address the root causes of violence in the city. The result is no appreciable difference in the reduction of crime.

Despite what any top cop, or city elected official may tell you, ask the man on the street, or the boys in the hood, they'll all say, this is still, BodyMore, Murderland. With hundreds of deaths classified as "cause undetermined," or "pending," who knows for sure just what the truth is. Greedy corporations cook the books, and fudge numbers just to look good, what makes you think self serving, self important, self aggrandizing officials and politicians wouldn't do the same?


When a prosecutor has little evidence, or no witnesses, by all established standards, his case is considered weak. A defendant with strong testimony, credible witnesses, and solid evidence is usually thought as having a good shot at justice. Sometimes, a prosecutor goes forward with a case, knowing full well, he probably doesn't have one. For him, the only objective is to win, no matter what; this is not justice, it's a miscarriage of justice.

No longer is it about right or wrong or the search for truth. Justice comes down to who can argue better, who has better strategy, and who is willing to spend more money. The state has endless resources to prosecute. Most of us have limited resources to spend on our own defense. Similar to a game or sporting event, a running score is kept. Victory at all cost is what the prosecutor wants. Even if the loss of innocence and freedom for a law abiding citizen is the end result.

In the courts, the fate and destiny of the common man lies in the balances. When a new case is reviewed by the prosecutor's office, decisions should be made in the best interest of society. Ideally at this point, it is determined whether there is enough to proceed to trial, or should the whole matter be dropped. A prosecutor who truly believes in justice will usually review all evidence, or lack there of, then chart a course. The attorney trapped in the tunnel vision mindset of winning or losing sometimes miss relevant details. Other times there is a willful overlooking of pertinent facts supporting the defense. Often, without any real evidence, they choose to go forward.

Many cases brought up in court should have been summarily dismisses, but gamesmanship of a misguided prosecutor perverts justice. He wants to win remember? At all costs! To nolle preseque, or throw out a case; would save innumerable taxpayer dollars and free up the court docket for the many serious and pressing issues faced by our city. Truly, Baltimore is a community in crisis.

In Charm City, too many cases are dragged on, while an innocent person is put through the ringer. Our system claims innocence until proven guilty, but close examination reveals this notion exists only in theory. For some who are wrongfully charged, their accusers often win, dealing a defeat to true justice. But what does this mean? The reasons for the victory are no more evident at the end of the trial, that it was at the very start. In other words, any fool and his mama could have seen, there was never really a case, yet for some reason it went forward.

Arrogance and pride keeps the prosecutor going on a lost cause, looking for that victory. He wants guilt, but there's non there. Only an innocent man, and the prosecutor knows this. Or maybe he doesn't....


The cases tried against the innocent come at a very high price. The hapless defendant; make that innocent victim; or should I say loser, is left in a sorry state; even if he somehow won against malicious prosecution and false accusation. An innocent man who wins in court is left to pick up the pieces of his broken life.

Destroyed is his good name, public reputation, financial and career prospects, and even his family life sometimes is totally ruined. Too many times, for too many people, when you win, this is just a minor detail, easily insignificant in a now shattered world.

With years of practical, theoretical and academic experience in criminal justice and criminology, A.F. James MacArthur is a frequent commentator on crime and justice. A one time college level instructor, MacArthur has been recently selected as a lead instructor for the soon to be chartered Baltimore Urban Institute.



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To all those who willfully, deliberately and routinely violate the civil rights of law abiding American Citizens; Yes, you're powerful. Sure, you're everywhere. But this is still America, and the Constitution of the United States Of America still reigns supreme as the law of the land. The Baltimore Spectator will vigorously and aggressively defend against any and all attempts at spying and suppression. Let it be known to all that we are already aware of the regular monitoring and shadowing attempts. There is nothing to hide, but cross the line and there will be hell to pay.

In the end, efforts to impinge upon the freedoms of the people will ultimately fail. Some of us may get taken out in the ongoing battle for true and lasting freedom, but as I've said many times before, and will say till the day I die or get taken out by you goons, THERE ARE MORE OF US, THAN THERE ARE OF YOU.

A.F. James MacArthur -- American patriot & lover of liberty.

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