Sunday, January 05, 2014

Lawyers and Double Standards

Another reason to hate lawyers?
Rampant Prosecutorial Misconduct - "The defendant, Kenneth Olsen, was convicted of producing ricin, a toxic poison, for use as a weapon. Federal prosecutors knew — but did not tell his lawyers or the court — that an investigation of the government’s forensic scientist, whose lab tests were critical to the case, had revealed multiple instances of sloppy work that had led to wrongful convictions in earlier cases. A state court found the scientist was “incompetent and committed gross misconduct.” 
Yet the majority of the federal appeals court panel ruled that the overall evidence of Mr. Olsen’s guilt — including websites he visited and books he bought — was so overwhelming that the failure to disclose the scientist’s firing would not have changed the outcome."
The first requirement of a legitimate authority is that it live under the same laws and meet the same standards that it applies to those under its authority. If a police officer made the same mistake there would be no mercy or no exceptions for him. The standard that lawyers apply to other lawyers is that whether they violated the rule or not is irrelevant as long as the outcome would have been the same. But when a police officer breaks a rule about gathering evidence it doesn't matter whether the evidence was true or even whether the mistake is made in good faith, the evidence and all evidence that was gathered subsequently that came to light in any degree because of the wrongly gathered evidence is thrown out as well. Regular citizens are expected to know an incomprehensible and ever changing mass of laws while prosecutors are allowed to plead innocent error.

We have traded the rule of law for the rule of lawyers.

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