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Thread: Supreme Court to decide if prosecutors can be sued

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    Founder's Club Member Jim675's Avatar
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    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090420/...us_prosecutors

    WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court will consider whether prosecutors have to face a lawsuit from two men whose convictions for killing a retired police officer were set aside.
    The justices said Monday they'll hear an appeal in the fall from former Pottawattamie County, Iowa, prosecutors.
    They are being sued by Curtis W. McGhee Jr., and Terry Harrington, who were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 1978 for the death of retired police officer John Schweer.
    The men were released from prison after 25 years. Evidence showed police and prosecutors had failed to share evidence that pointed to another man as a possible suspect in Schweer's slaying. Some witnesses also recanted their testimony.
    McGhee and Harrington filed lawsuits against the former prosecutors, including former County Attorney Dave Richter and his assistant Joseph Hrvol. They claimed authorities were eager to charge someone and that they were targeted because they are black. They also sued current County Attorney Matt Wilber after he suggested the right men had been convicted.
    Richter and Hrvol argued that they were immune from lawsuits because they were acting within the scope of their job. Federal courts, however, rejected their motions to dismiss the lawsuits, saying the immunity did not extend to them.
    The case is Pottawattamie County v. McGhee, 08-1065.




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    If the witnesses have recanted their testimony can they be charged with perjury? I am always amazed by the number of witnesses in cases like these that all of a sudden seem to change their testimony when the possibility of a big payoff seems to be in play.

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    I think that what we really need to focus on the prosecutors. They should not have unilateral ability to bring charges against someone just because they can.

    The discretion can be abused and protecting them and their decisions is just another way to allow corruption.

    I wish people in California were more capable to understand the concept behind this "protection".



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    Founder's Club Member Jim675's Avatar
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    I was astounded when I read this. I think the SC removing immunity from prosecutors does us more potential good than DC v. Heller!

    Fewer prosecutions will embolden more OCers, who will desensitize more of the public, who will recognize more of the antis' rhetoric for what it is.


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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Theseus wrote:
    I think that what we really need to focus on the prosecutors. They should not have unilateral ability to bring charges against someone just because they can.

    The discretion can be abused and protecting them and their decisions is just another way to allow corruption.

    I wish people in California were more capable to understand the concept behind this "protection".

    Theseus,

    I agree with what you are saying, and that is why we have grand juries, imperfect though they are.

    The real issue here is that the police and prosecutors withheld evidence from the defense that they were required to share. I hope the bastards lose everything they own, are fired and disbarredand are forced to move into a homeless shelter.
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitableand let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come . PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

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    I really thought this had been settled by Mike Nifong and his antics. The one thing in this case that I wonder is why did they withhold the evidence and what bearing would it have had. Defense lawyers will do everything in their power to try and claim it could have been someone else just like in the O J Simpson case. Was the other suspect a valid suspect or just a possible one? Then we get to why are the witnesses changing their story.

    This reminds me of the deal where over 100 prisoners were set free due to new DNA evidence. There was not a single case where the person set free was shown to not be guilty rather the evidence just showed that the possibility of someone else could have committed the crime.

    Many times the evidence shows that it possibly could have been 100 different people but 98% of it points to one person. Should we let that person go free because of the 2%.

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    Founder's Club Member Jim675's Avatar
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    Snip "Should we let that person go free because of the 2%?"

    Yes.

    It is better that 10 guilty go free rather than one innocent be jailed.

    Every time.



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    Jim675 wrote:
    Snip "Should we let that person go free because of the 2%?"

    Yes.

    It is better that 10 guilty go free rather than one innocent be jailed.

    Every time.

    I disagree with that philosophy. If we require 100% accuracy in every case we will never put anyone in jail The instructions to a jury do not include beyond a doubt but beyond a reasonable doubt and seldom will that 2% be a reasonable doubt.

    If you allow 10 murderers go free due to the possibility of one being innocent then you probably have sentenced some other innocent person to death due to the probability of at least one of the 10 killing again and made a travesty of our entire justice system. I have been on juries and I can assure you that we never convicted a person that we did not feel was completely guilty but with through some wild imagination could have been innocent.

    I found the link below which has much more on this case before it was filed. It sure sounds to me that Mr. Harrington was guilty. Remember that none of the evidence that was found said he was not guilty, only that they police had an additional suspect that was never cleared.



    http://www.truthinjustice.org/harrington.htm

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    Founder's Club Member Jim675's Avatar
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    You're disagreement is noted and respected, but unpersuasive to me.

    Is 2% doubt really beyond reason? How many eyewitnesses "positively" fingered the wrong persons? How many points of agreement in a fingerprint before a match? How sure is the FBI lab that the murderous slug was fired from your PT111 amongst all others?

    1 in 50 odds when betting my life is way too poor for me.

    A possible murderer going free is one of the reasons we have the right to defend ourselves. You do not have a right to safety. You safeguard yourself; all the government supplies is adult supervision to ejudicate who started it, after the fact.

    My apologies for the non-attribution, the quote of course came from Sir William Blackstone and is one of the founding principle of US law.

    "It is better that 10 guilty persons escape than 1 innocent suffer" -Sir William Blackstone

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    Jim675 wrote:
    Evidence showed police and prosecutors had failed to share evidence that pointed to another man as a possible suspect in Schweer's slaying. Some witnesses also recanted their testimony....

    Richter and Hrvol argued that they were immune from lawsuits because they were acting within the scope of their job. Federal courts, however, rejected their motions to dismiss the lawsuits, saying the immunity did not extend to them.
    The case is Pottawattamie County v. McGhee, 08-1065.
    Guess what Richter and Hrvol. The minute you withhold evidence you are no longer acting in the scope of your job. It is those actions, outside the scope of your job, for which you are being sued.

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    Guess what Richter and Hrvol. The minute you withhold evidence you are no longer acting in the scope of your job. It is those actions, outside the scope of your job, for which you are being sued.
    +1 This is the pertinent point, at least as far as the Court is concerned>



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