Prosecuting Prosecutors for Perjury? 9th Circuit panel comes down hard on lying prosecutors issue

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Updated: 1-28-15: 2:10 PM, ET

Writing in the New York Observer, Sidney Powell began her column this way: “What will it take to produce honest and ethical conduct from our state and federal prosecutors? The Ninth Circuit has a suggestion. Perhaps a perjury prosecution will do it. In fact, that is exactly what should happen when prosecutors affirmatively lie. This case, Baca v. Adams, involves a clear violation of the Supreme Court’s decision in Napue, which holds that prosecutors cannot put on perjured testimony, much less lie themselves. Unfortunately, as I’ve documented elsewhere, it happens far too often, when it should never happen at all.” I urge readers to take a look at Sidney Powell’s column, which is both informative and powerful.

Even more so is the video of the exchange between Judges Alex Kozinski, Kim McLane Wardlaw, William Fletcher and  California Supervising Deputy Attorney General Kevin Vienna.

Early on in his opening remarks (16 minutes into video), Mr, Vienna stated: “A number of things happened that should have not happened, and we’re not here to defend them.” But he defend them he did, albeit guardedly. It was downhill from there. Things got even worse when Judge Kozinski and his colleagues weighed on the matter of prosecutorial perjury.

The clip is too extraordinary to quote — you really must see it. So, click on the video and watch how Mr. Vienna attempted to make the case for the State as the Judges dug deeper into the issue of proctorial perjury.

Over at Hercules and the Umpire, Judge Richard G. Kopf adds a few comments.

UPDATE: This from John Roemer writing in the Daily Journal (Jan. 27, 2015):

“Misconduct by Riverside County prosecutors has forced the reversal of a 1998 murder­for­hire conviction in a case that raised the ire of Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski and led to his demand that Attorney General Kamala D. Harris fix the situation.”

“Riverside County’s new district attorney, Mike Hestrin, said Monday in a media statement, ‘While we do not concede the prosecutorial misconduct was intentional or malicious … I am requesting that Mr. Baca’s murder case be returned to Riverside County to allow a retrial unmarred by even the appearance of impropriety or unfairness.'”

“. . . [Judge] Kozinski sought to pressure the state officials to resolve the case without having a federal court decide Baca’s appeal. ‘It will look terrible when we write it up and name names,’ he predicted.”

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7 Responses

  1. XYZ says:

    Sidney Powell is a woman.

  2. FPG says:

    It looks like Kozinski has found away around the strict limitations that AEDPA places upon the granting of habeas petitions by federal courts: Threaten the prosecutor that the court will issue a published opinion which accuses the prosecutor, the prosecutor’s office, etc. of serious wrongdoing unless the prosecutor agrees to retry the case. Not exactly what one would expect from a judge who is supposed to be objectively, and dispassionately, applying the law. But, what the h!@#, the extortion apparently works. Whether or not this kind of conduct is ethical according to the Code of Judicial Conduct that governs federal judges — a document that Kozinski is very familiar with given his sordid history — is another matter.

  3. Jack says:

    Where do I find his column?

  4. fifa coins says:

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  5. Daniel says:

    Kozinski sounds like he is coming down hard on prosecutors, but he is actually protecting them: Kozinski says if the prosecutors settle the case for remand for a new trial, the court won’t need to write an opinion making the prosecutor look bad.

    Judges are part of the problem of prosecutorial misconduct.