Justice NOT Politics: Hold Prosecutors Accountable for Misconduct in Wrongful Convictions
  • Petitioning Senators and Representatives in all 50 States

This petition will be delivered to:

Senators and Representatives in all 50 States

Justice NOT Politics: Hold Prosecutors Accountable for Misconduct in Wrongful Convictions

    1. Petition by

      Justice-Not-Politics

Judges, Prosecutors, and Defense Attorneys are rarely held accountable for misconduct even when it is proven that their actions have been responsible for wrongful convictions. As a result, the families and individuals irreparably harmed by their collective judicial malfeasance have no legal recourse or punitive remedies available.

This is an unacceptable practice. Officials should be held accountable for their actions. The right to a fair trial is an American ideal that has been tarnished by judicial dishonesty, cronyism, and neglect.  The facts of a case and the truth of the matter should always take precedence over political aims and goals.

The United Statesjudicial system continues to allow false statements, suppression of exculpatory evidence, supposition, coerced testimony, deals in exchange for testimony, and blatant perjury within our nation’s courtrooms. Often, specific instances of the aforementioned have served to exacerbate charges brought against innocent citizens, creating unfounded assumptions of guilt.                                                                            

Statistics detail the patterns that have resulted in the majority of the wrongful convictions extant within our nation today.

Bureau of Justice Statistics from the United States Department of Justice concede that 8% to 12% of state prisoners are actually or factually innocent. If the error ratio of rightful convictions resides around ten percent nationally, 200,000 innocent people are currently imprisoned for crimes they did not commit and deserve judicial recourse.

Based on a study of 100 death sentences overturned by post-conviction evidence, out of the first 70 cases that were reversed:

 •Over 30 of these involved prosecutorial misconduct.

 •Over 30 of these involved police misconduct which led to wrongful convictions.

 •Approximately 15 of these involved false witness testimony.

 •34% of the police misconduct cases involved suppression of exculpatory evidence.  11% involved evidence fabrication.

 •37% of the prosecutorial misconduct cases involved suppression of exculpatory evidence.  25% involved knowing use of false testimony. *(Report: 2011 update- The Innocence Project)

Public officials who are responsible for wrongful convictions have often knowingly restricted a citizen’s right to a fair trial, fabricated evidence which has led to a guilty verdict, or engaged in severe prosecutorial misconduct.  Many career prosecutors have aggressively pursued life sentences or death sentences for innocent individuals, brazenly accusing people of crimes while having full knowledge of the defendant’s likely innocence. Though many public officials remain impartial and have full respect and dignity for the rule of law, statistics show that judicial malfeasance and prosecutorial misconduct continue to be ongoing problems. Just one wrongful conviction in this nation is a blight upon the system that must be rectified at any cost.  Innocent citizens who have had their rights and freedoms stolen deserve recourse against these malignant strains of injustice. It is clear that that we must put an end to the leniency and blind eye turned to official misconduct in order to put an end to wrongful convictions.  

We are asking theseUnited Statesand our nation’s fifty States, along with our Senators and Representatives, to create and approve legislation that would allow for:

· Elimination of Absolute Immunity for Prosecutors. While qualified immunity in some regard may be helpful, absolute immunity is not a tool that allows prosecutors to carry out the necessary functions of their jobs. Absolute immunity in circumstances of prosecutorial neglect and malfeasance only serves as a shield for prosecutors who commit criminal acts in the courtroom.

· Mandatory Referral to the American Bar Association. When a Prosecutor or Defense attorney has been found by a court of law to have participated in misconduct, the case should be referred automatically to the American Bar Association for review and consideration for disciplinary action, including disbarment.

·Judges, Prosecutors Must Be Subject to Full Transparency Regarding Histories of Misconduct. Judges and prosecutors are elected officials and WE are their constituents. If corrective or legal action has been taken against these public officials, the public has the right to know.

· Create a Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) in Every District Attorney’s Office in the United States. The Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) should be composed of independent legal, investigative, and scientific professionals tasked with the evaluation of cases suspected to be potential wrongful convictions. This will also serve as an independent body for appeals for future questionable convictions.

Implement Key Wrongful Conviction Preventative Measures That Assist in the Accountability of Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys:

·Require an open file law in all fifty states. These problems will perpetuate themselves so long as prosecutors are permitted to decide what does and does not constitute Brady material. All case materials should go to the defense, and if the state believes specific elements do not reside within the auspices of Brady material, the prosecution should be able to petition the court and ask that the defense be precluded from introducing these.  At the very least, a mandate requiring that such matters must be subject to an in-camera review by the court would assist in restoring some level of balance between the prosecution and the defense.  Full disclosure of all case materials should be required as a matter of course because most issues regarding withholding of evidence that had the potential to prove innocence but were never introduced at trial could have be easily avoided.

·Mandatory Testing of Physical Evidence. All DNA, fingerprints, clothes, bullets, and pieces of crime scene evidence in criminal cases must be tested and re-tested using the latest in crime lab technology at a reputable lab by unbiased professionals.

·Require Video Taping of All Police and Attorney Interrogations and Interviews.
All officers of the law act in an official capacity that should be subject to independent review if this is deemed necessary in the future.  Therefore, attorney and law enforcement interrogations and interviews with the accused, witnesses and informants, excluding instances in which attorney-client privilege are at issue, must be videotaped in order to preserve justice, maintain neutrality, and preserve the rule of law.

In addition to the recommendations above, we support suggestions from the Liman Prosecutorial Misconduct Research Project at Yale Law School:

·Expand Rule 3.8 to more completely address prosecutors’ full range of responsibilities, including discretion in investigating and charging crimes and in negotiating pleas.

·State Supreme Courts should control the states’ disciplinary processes.

·Enforced discretion in investigating and charging suspects to avoid cases of misconduct.

·Randomized auditing of cases to discover and correct cases of prosecutorial misconduct.

·Automatic filing of ethics complaints, triggered whenever a court finds that a prosecutor has behaved unethically.

If consequences existed for the negligent or malignant actions of individuals elected to seek truth in legal cases, there would be less misconduct and more justice.  Those who knowingly and purposefully implicate and incarcerate innocent people must be subject to the rule of law and the will of the people.  If we turn a blind eye to injustice, innocent citizens imprisoned for others’ crimes will never regain the lives they deserve and the freedom to return home to their loved ones. 

Please sign this petition and join us in collectively asking the American judiciary and all who work and take part in our nation’s legal system to seek verdicts based on Justice NOT Politics.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 2,000 signatures
    2. Decision-maker Darrell Steinberg responds:

      Darrell Steinberg

      To whom it may concern:

      Thank you for contacting my office regarding harsher punishments for those who wrongfully convict citizens. I appreciate legislative suggestions – some of the best bills come from engaged citizens who see a pro...


    3. Reached 1,000 signatures
    4. Seeking Solutions: Prosecutorial Error

      Seeking Solutions: Prosecutorial Error

      Michael Morton's exoneration last year brought to a crescendo in Texas calls for change in the way that prosecutors are regulated. Morton, prosecutors and defense lawyers discuss whether there is a need for more accountability for state lawyers and how it ought to be accomplished.

    5. Reached 750 signatures
    6. JOIN THE MOVEMENT by sending your pics to pic@justice-not-politics.com

      Let everyone know that YOU know what's going on with wrongful convictions. Please send your pictures and the name of the inmate (or we can just make one of support for the innocently imprisoned) to pic@justice-not-politics.com. Please keep sharing the petition. You all are amazing!

    7. Excellent article about our efforts by Melissa Higgins:

      The new movement asking for justice, not politics

      On August 18 of this year, Tammy Alexander set about the task of creating a secret Facebook group. She was preparing to launch a collaborative advocacy effort regarding wrongful convictions. New members were quickly added, including a core group of activists for various wrongfully convicted people.

    8. Reached 500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Donna Wearstler OKLAHOMA CITY, OK
      • 2 days ago

      Because I have a Daughter doing life/without plus 5 yrs,It's wrong.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Steve Rowley SWADLINCOTE, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 2 days ago

      This is in support of amongst others Nicole Kish, wrongfully convicted by a flawed legal system.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Leon Myerson FANWOOD, NJ
      • 3 days ago

      Wrongful convictions are crimes committed in all of our names.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • David Curtis YAKIMA, WA
      • 4 days ago

      Because of the Nicole Kish case and many others.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Patricia Hines SANDY HOOK, KY
      • 5 days ago

      Because I have an Uncle who was wrongfully convicted! He is currently on his way to prison for a crime he did not commit and the judicial system was very unfair, dismissed VERY IMPORTANT evidence that was crucial in helping prove his innocence, and treated my Uncle, as well as the rest of my family, like SHIT! Excuse my language. It was MORE than obvious my Uncle is an innocent from all the evidence, and our judicial system ignored it, and mocked my family. It was literally like a joke! It was ridiculous! I FULLY support this! Reasons like this make me ashamed to say "I am an American," because of how ethically and morally wrong this is and it goes against everything that our past American's worked so hard to build up!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.