California bill would make prosecutorial misconduct a felony

August 16, 2016

justice 2Prosecutors will face felony charges for withholding or falsifying evidence if a bill that is currently making its way through the California Legislature becomes law. The bill calls for punishments of up to three years in prison for prosecutorial misconduct. [OC Register]

Current California law states it is a misdemeanor for anyone, with the exception of law enforcement officers, to withhold or falsify evidence. Law enforcement officers can be charged with felonies for doing so.

In February, Assemblywoman Patty Lopez (D-San Fernando) introduced AB 1909, which calls for prosecutors to also face the possibility of felony charges for misuse of evidence. The bill would increase punishments for prosecutorial misconduct to between 16 months and three years. Additionally, it would allow judges to fine prosecutors and report them to the state for various types of misconduct.

The Assembly voted 60-18 in favor of the bill in June. AB 1909 is currently making its way through Senate committees.

Lopez’s bill has come under consideration as Orange County prosecutors have been embroiled in a jailhouse snitch scandal. Orange County prosecutors have faced allegations that they routinely misused jailhouse informants as part of secretive program and that they withheld information from judges and defense attorneys. In turn, the Orange County’s DA’s Office was booted from the prosecutorial role in a mass shooting case, and murder convictions were overturned.

Additionally, legal experts say there is a statewide problem of prosecutorial misconduct.

A 2010 study conducted by the Santa Clara University School of Law concluded courts fail to report prosecutorial misconduct, prosecutors deny it occurs and the California State Bar almost never disciplines prosecutors for their misconduct. The study stated that the State Bar punished just six out of 600 prosecutors who were accused of misconduct in California between 1997 and 2009.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas supports the prosecutorial misconduct bill and says it should apply to all attorneys as well. A 500-member union representing Orange County lawyers, including deputy DAs, public defenders and county counsel, opposes the bill.

Deputy District Attorney Mena Guirguis, the president of the union, said the bill is redundant as there are already safeguards in place. Guirguis also said the bill would clog the justice system and lead to accusations against prosecutors and subsequent investigations, even if they do not have merit.

Some public defenders, however, are speaking out against the union, saying they support the bill and have been working tirelessly to hold the district attorney’s office accountable.


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Josey Wales

Ladies & Gentlemen,


I support this proposed legislation.


While we certainly want prosecutors who thoroughly prosecute crimes, it is over the line to engage in prosecutorial misconduct, and these state-sponsored lawyers have gotten away with their state-sponsored crimes for way too long.


If the officers-of-the-court won’t uphold the laws, then what kind of system do we have?


People like lawyers, cops and judges occupy special positions of authority in our society,they are handsomely paid, and the public has every right to expect a HIGHER standard of conduct on their part, not a lower one. These prosecutors who commit misconduct in their zeal to prosecute members of the public deserve our contempt.


Freedom is nothing if not an honest day in court.


Just saying,


Josey


SLOBIRD

Josey, do you really think that there are not laws on the books to address this. Are you seriously saying that anyone can lie and there is no accountability for it. I think we just saw in the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore where the prosecutor did not provide all the evidence, changed evidence or removed evidence, etc. and it is the judge who had knowledge and corrected the situation. He even told the prosecutors to not come back unless they had an actual case with evidence. It is the lawyers of the accused that need to know and protect their client’s rights.


rukidding

What is this world coming to? You mean they can’t lie and cheat anymore? What will happen to their success rates if they have to be honest? Maybe the little guy might have a chance?


mej

Good!


SLOBIRD

This should apply to all government employees, at all levels, for all and any illegal deed. This is just another move to intimidate prosecutors. Next we will be going after the judges, police, etc. and then there will no criminals.


Perspicacious

Yeah, pretty funny that politicians are passing a bill against lying. Kind of stupid though because there are already laws against it.


That being said, laws like this might make idiot prosecutors such as the DA in Baltimore think twice before bringing bogus charges at the urging of the BLM movement.


Scott

This is long overdue Prosecution and Judicial corruption are rampant in California, Kern County tops the list and has been for years, not long ago Deputy Prosecutor Robert Murray was found guilty of Public Corruption, Misconduct, altering evidence, fabrication and failure to turn over exculpatory evidence. Then you have over 7 judges censored in Kern County over the years for Judicial Misconduct.


X Judge Alan Klein was removed from the bench in Bakersfield (Kern County) for having a defendant (Stripper) dance in his chambers , he was removed and later given his Law License to practice in CA. Then you have corrupt former DDA Stephen Tauzer who was shot and killed by a Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy for molesting the deputies son. Then lets not forget the famed book and documentary “Mean Justice” when the Kern County DA’s office falsely prosecuted dozens of innocent people for a fake child molestation ring , the DA retired and the County hasw been paying out millions in settlements on that one. Several of the DDA’s left and now work for the SLO DA’s office.


Then MSNBC did a in-depth story narrated by Sean Penn the case as another miscarriage of Justice, then you have my Uncle Jim Poole a child molester who was placed on the Kern County Grand Jury for several years as a friend to the DA’s to ensure no one learned of the ongoing evil in the DA’s office.


So this should have been a felony years ago since most of all Justice is Blind ! Kern County ranks #1 in Judicial Misconduct and Prosecution misconduct along with Police corruption. Amazing how many of the DDA’s from Kern County came to SLO, and the many deputies and police officers as well are all working in SLO ?


So finally i hope justice prevails


dogeatdog

They won’t serve a day in jail, the jails are already too full with other scum bags.


How about we just revoke their license, there are too many attorneys already. If you aren’t an atty in the state then you are a real estate agent.


tomsquawk

f*


a bill that is currently making its way through the California Legislature becomes law. The bill calls for punishments of up to three years in prison – See more at: https://calcoastnews.com/2016/08/california-bill-make-prosecutorial-misconduct-felony/#sthash.NAMEOJJh.dpuf


what a joke. how do you know when a politician is lying?


come on let’s dope up. buggers


kayaknut

“how do you know when a politician is lying”, easy, when their mouth is open.


demiseofslo

Good, send them to the slammer, to general population. About time for some accountability!


panflash

Well, it sounds good on its face.


But who is going to enforce it?