A judge in California has just disqualified 250 prosecutors off a major case because of a long history failure to turn over to the defense exculpating and impeachment evidence about informants who were illegally pumping criminal defendants for incriminating information, despite their attached right to counsel.
As a response, the prosecutors increased dramatically their motions to disqualify the judge. Usually such motions are made when the judge is not impartial. Ruling fairly as to prosecutorial misconduct that truly occurred does not constitute a ground for disqualification of a judge, and the judge should be commended for his courage, as his disqualification decision are ruffling a lot of feathers in the political elite of the state.
The reason for the disqualification, among other things, was that the Orange County Sheriff's Department, in total agreement with the DA's office, created and operated - for years and decades - a SECRET system of evidence against criminal defendants held in custody and pumped for information by jail snitches.
Such pumping for information by jail snitches at the behest of the government was the same as the government conducting interrogation. Some of the evidence secretly held by the police for 25 years was exculpatory and was not turned over to the defense, with the full knowledge of the prosecutors.
Two years ago, it has been reported that crime labs are paid PER CONVICTION, meaning that the results of their work is clearly tied to whether the defendant is convicted or not.
Imagine what kind of perverse incentive that is and how many lives it may have disrupted through wrongful convictions.
My search on the Internet failed to discover that anybody was disciplined or held accountable for creating such a "pay-per-conviction" scheme of compensation for the crime labs, and one does not have to be a wiz to see a hand of a prosecutor (a future judge?) all over the place in this pay-per-conviction scheme.
Imagine how many lawyers (prosecutors) knew about the scheme and kept mum.
In April of 2015 it was reported that federal crime labs were presenting false evidence and testimony in criminal cases since 1999, generating an unknown number of false convictions and falsely induced plea bargains.
My question is - when independent civil rights and defense lawyers are suspended and disbarred left and right for simply criticizing a judge (for which they must have full 1st Amendment protection - especially when they do that to ensure their clients' right to a fair and impartial adjudication), what will be done in terms of discipline to prosecutors who perpetrated all of the above-reported fraud and misconduct?
Should we hold our collective breaths to figure that out or do we already know the answer - NOTHING?
And isn't this "nothing" the answer as to whether there is a reason to continue the fake protection of the attorney licensing system which protects only the market, with its high prices, from entry of affordable providers of legal services, not bound by financial contributions and financial ties in their loyalty to "the system"?
While we are waiting to see whether the 250 prosecutors will be disciplined or not, we can recall that California is the state that disbarred attorney Richard Fine for his fight against judicial corruption when he found out that state judges received additions to their salaries from counties that appeared in front of those same judges as parties.
The scandal was hushed by:
- disbarring and jailing in solitary confinement for 14 months (without charging him with a crime) the whistleblower against judicial corruption, prominent attorney Richard Fine, and by
- the State Legislature giving judges involved into the apparent corrupt scheme of justice for sale retrospective immunity from criminal prosecution, civil liability and disciplinary action for any misconduct they may have committed.
With that in mind, I will be eagerly awaiting news as to how the now discovered misconduct of the 250 prosecutors will be handled by the State of California.