So, here is an example of why I am finding this job harder and harder to do. There is a murder trial going on in Alaska. A re-trial in fact. See http://www.adn.com/2011/02/04/1684477/police-chief-said-he-lied-in-first.html It came to light today that a main police officer witness LIED during the first trial. That he took a certain pleasure in lying and cheating. And the State apparently knew about it and did nothing. Now usually, this would turn into a rant about how I don't like cops. How the vast majority of them are liars and cheats. But you all know my feelings on that. And besides in this cases it was another cop who couldn't stomach his lies and reported it. So I'll give it a rest. The real issue is this: the officer committed perjury. A girl was convicted of murder. And do you know what will be done? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And the District Attorney who knew about his lies and did nothing? Well, nothing will be done there either. The State Bar will do nothing. Oh there may be an investigation but it will all be swept under the rug. The State will do nothing. No one will lose his job. No perjury charges will follow. Now if one of my junkie clients lies about his identity while high out of his mind, the State will pin him to the wall. But when a cop lies and a girl gets convicted of murder? Well, he's a cop. And the DA who knew about it and hid the evidence? Well he's a DA. And that is why I am finding it harder and harder to do this anymore.

Comments

Anonymous said…
leguveLast month a Texas police detective was indicted for aggravated perjury for allegedly lying to a grand jury. Someone in the DA's office notified the Texas Rangers. (It wasn't me; I was not there). The issue was not swept under the rug, but some of the police officers now hate the DA's office.
jLow said…
So no action whatsoever will be taken regarding the perjury? Despite every governing authority in Alaska being informed as to it happening? Did the lies impact the validity (or lack thereof) of the evidence upon which the conviction is sought? Sounds like it has morphed into two separate actions to me: (1) the murder trial and its evidence, and (2) the illegal/unethical actions of the prosecution side and the evidence of their actions. I would be shocked if the defense does not seek a mistrial if in fact the lies jeopardize the strength of the evidence against his client.

"The time is always right to do what is right." MLK
Jlow this is a retrial. The girl was convicted and her conviction overturned. They are back for trial # 2 and there is now evidence that the cop lied at the FIRST trial. I don't know if the lies "impacted the validity of the evidence". But who cares? The point is that cops and DA's can lie and hide evidence and nobody will ever do anything about it. Ever. It's perfectly ok. And that's a fact. If I was king of the world, the penalty for perjury would trail the penalty of the charges. In other words, lie in a murder case, get life. Lie in a death penalty case, you get executed. Etc.
jLow said…
If nothing is done, ever, against lying cops and prosecutors then why are disbarred attorneys and de-commissioned cops sitting in prisons in the U.S.? They DO get punished . . . whether it fits your all-cops-are-corrupt-and-break-the-law-ALLLLL-the-time-but-don't-get-in-trouble theory or not. Please don't act like every single cop or prosecuting attorney who breaks the law walks away . . . because, just like criminals, a lot of them get convicted too.
jLow said…
And also, WHAT they lied about IS important. It is a senseless use of energy and resources to keep screaming THEY LIED THEY LIED. How about righting the wrong? That'd be a good place to start.
Dan said…
She wasn't convicted, Ben. It was a hung jury in 2006. Judge made some rulings on her statements. State appealed. State reindicted sans def's statements. Def now being retried.
Anonymous said…
1st jury was hung, man.
Of course Dan. I knew that and I got my cases jumbled in my outrage. My mistake. It doesn't change much...the lies and hiding of exculpatory evidence will go absolutely uninvestigated and, if true, unpunished. That is the way things are in Alaska. You know its true.
Dan said…
Ben, no it's not like that in Alaska. Public officials breaking the law (the names Anthony Rollins, Sammy Cohen, Bryan Herrera, James Stanton spring to my mind immediately) are routinely arrested, tried and convicted in Alaska.

Your point of view is horribly skewed and, given that all of your facts about this come from the newspaper, I'd hedge a bet that you are not 100% informed about several things. Several things being (a) what exactly the retired officer said on the stand during both direct and cross exam, (b) the context of the testimony, (c) the detective's testimony, and (d) how the detective and retired officer APPEARED to the jurors.

Frankly, given your own experience with flawed/biased news reporting on your cases, I'm surprised you've so easily fallen for this. Wouldn't you have a field day defending this detective if such allegations, based solely upon what you've read in a newspaper, were just that? Allegations. Yes, I think you would.

Step back. Take a deep breath. Read the perjury statute (remember, I used to prosecute this crime, it's not all that easy of a charge). Finally, come back and see if any of that changes your mind.
Dan: come on. Maybe it is hard for the DA to go after cops but it sure isn't hard to go after others. And citing cases where cops raped the shit out of women is hardly what I am talking about. When is the last time a cop went down for perjury? A DA was punished for withholding evidence? Is it your position that every cop in Alaska is always truthful? That every DA has always played by the rules? Give me a break. I could start citing cases that would prove that wrong and we both know it. And no, I didn't get my information from the media....come on man.....you are no longer a DA. When I see my first cop go down for lying, or the first DA lose his license, I will withdraw my comments.
jLow said…
Anchorage cop Sammy Cohen convicted and spent 5 years in jail with another 8 years on probation.
jLow said…
My brother convicted on manufacture and intent to distribute meth in Texas - sentenced to 7 years. Served 14 months.
Jlow I'm not sure what sentencing disparity remarks you are making? Cop should have got more? Your brother? That is a whole seperate issue. I wasn't talking about cops raping people or having child porn on probation officers taking bribes. I was talking about cops lying and DA's hiding evidence. But if you want to argue that sentencing laws can be unfair, well amen sister!
jLow said…
I DO think sentencing laws are unfair. But, like you said, that is a separate issue. What I was trying to point out (ineffectually, I guess) was that a cop was prosecuted, convicted, and did time behind bars. My brother (who did not have any criminal record AT ALL and was not a cop) was prosecuted, convicted, sentenced, and did the minimum time til parole. The fact that one was a cop and one wasn't did not make a difference - they committed crimes and were punished. I want YOU to admit that the truth is that cops who commit criminal acts DO get punished. And they DO get punished for perjury, tampering with evidence, tampering with witnesses, etc. If they are not dealt with accordingly in Alaska, then I say ROCK THE F'ING BOAT! Don't be another bystander that complains about what is wrong... be the person that steps up and screams FIX IT!! Legislation is drafted and laws are passed because we little people out here get involved and communicate with our elected officials. If it is as bad as you say, then sounds like somebody needs to be investigated for abuse of power, dereliction of duty, etc. Bad guys don't clean up because they think it's a good idea on their own. They have to get caught. And sometimes even that is not a enough. But at least it gets rid of them so things can be changed for the better.
Anonymous said…
Wasn't the DA in the "Lacrosse Players accused of gang rape" case disbarred for unethical conduct? Did he not also face misdo criminal charges as well? Not Alaska, but cuts against your rant nonetheless.....
jLow said…
Ben - I admire you for what you do and how you are trying to help your community. But at the end of the day, I still believe in our system. And it is only made better with organizations like the Innocence Project that work against wrongful convictions where corrupt people prevented the fair process of law. We can hope that in the proof of innocence the proof of corruption will also be exposed.

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