NY Judge Strikes Down Prosecutor Misconduct Panel

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A New York state judge declared a commission on prosecutorial misconduct unconstitutional, handing district attorneys a victory and dealing a blow to supporters of a panel that would have been the nation’s first, the Wall Street Journal reports. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill in March, creating an 11-member panel to investigate potentially unethical behavior by state prosecutors and impose sanctions. The statute was challenged by a district attorneys who alleged it violated the separation of powers between the branches of government. Justice David Weinstein of Albany held Tuesday that statute was “inconsistent with the provisions of the New York State Constitution.”

Critics said the the commission’s broad investigatory power could interfere with the decision making of prosecutors—who are independently elected—and put a chill on their investigative work. Jim Walden, representing the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York, said prosecutors “will be able to do their jobs without the constant threat of unconstitutional oversight.” Supporters called the panel necessary to prevent wrongful convictions and hold those who had acted in bad faith accountable. Tina Luongo of the Legal Aid Society said, “There must be an independent body to hold prosecutors accountable when they break the law or act in bad faith.”

One thought on “NY Judge Strikes Down Prosecutor Misconduct Panel

  1. This type of oversight is sorely needed, prosecutors routinely browbeat plea bargains out of poor defendants who cannot post ridiculous bail amounts on one hand. This is 97% of all charged cases. On the other hand, those who choose to go to trial have Brady violations and misrepresentations with chilling frequency to help prosecutors win cheap and dirty convictions to glorify their sordid and shady records. This will not stop or subside until there is meaningful oversight. However the law needs to be changed to pass constitutional muster, PLEASE GET IT DONE!

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