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Study Shows Extensive Misconduct by Federal Prosecutors

By Jason Beahm on September 28, 2010 6:57 AM

If you have your own criminal defense firm, there is an article out in USA Today that you will definitely want to take a look at. According to an extensive investigation, federal prosecutors repeatedly withheld exculpatory evidence from the jury and the defendant. The article detailed several ways in which prosecutors covered up evidence.

The misconduct included lying about or failing to disclose deals that they had made with convicts, whom they promised reduced sentences in exchange for their cooperation. Prosecutors also broke plea bargain deals with defendants.

According to USA Today, prosecutorial misconduct has wasted millions of dollars, locked up innocent defendants in prison and let guilty people walk free. In many cases, judges criticized prosecutors for "flagrant" or "outrageous" misconduct. However, the investigation found that virtually no one was suspended or punished for cheating, despite misconduct so serious that judges threw out charges, overturned convictions or blasted prosecutors in court. In fact, in the past twelve years, only one federal prosecutor was barred even temporarily for prosecutorial misconduct.

This means that you need to be extra vigilant in your defense and make sure that you conduct a thorough investigation. Speak with other defense attorneys and find out the reputation of the prosecutor on your case. Do not count on the fact that you will receive exculpatory evidence from the prosecutor.

If you believe that the prosecutor is withholding evidence from you, be assertive. After an investigation of this type, judges and juries are likely going to view the prosecution with an extra degree of skepticism. Don't be afraid to use this momentum to your advantage. Based on the article, it sounds like the accused need every advantage they can get.

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