Re: “Prosecutors vs. Journalists: The Gloves Are Off” [June 9]
It amazes me when journalists let interviewees get away with such drivel as “he got off on a technicality.” But when Miner let the bloodthirsty Joshua Marquis get away with it, there is a serious problem. Clatsop County could easily be called “Claptrap” County.
There was an old radio show called Mr. District Attorney. The introduction said something about protecting the people and something about looking for the truth. That concept seems to have disappeared under the weight of seeking convictions at any price in order to advance a career.
The travesty in this column was the light touch given to Marquis’s assertion that: “the misconduct here was technical–prosecutors being held responsible for evidence that should have been turned over to the defense.” Please. “Technical”?
When the Supreme Court of the United States (in Brady v. Maryland) says that a defendant has a constitutional right to have all the evidence possessed by the prosecutor, including, particularly, evidence that might tend to exonerate him, that is no technicality. That is a constitutional right. That cannot be technical. That is a fundamental right of all those accused of any crime, no matter how heinous it might seem.
Prosecutors, and much of the laity, don’t get it. Our system of justice is founded upon the principle that guilt must be proven by the prosecutor beyond a reasonable doubt. The system is supposed to protect the individual against the strength and majesty of the government. That means that guilt must be proven; there is no comparable burden upon the accused.
They don’t get it. The system means that it is not OK to convict someone because he is a bad man. The idea in this democracy is that there has to be due process. And that means prosecutors have to do it the right way. Otherwise, the accused might walk. Don’t come crying about technicalities. Either you do it right or do it in China or Iraq; not here.
Finally, one must understand that when the Du Page 7 got Rolando Cruz convicted for a crime he did not commit, they also let a murderer walk. What is at risk is letting that lowlife continue to walk the earth to prey on other children; and he may have killed others after having killed Jeanine Nicarico. Not only did they violate their oath to uphold the Constitution, but they endangered the people. They didn’t protect anyone or anything.
“Technicality”? Only the unholy three (Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas) would ever buy that hogwash.