Who Polices Prosecutors?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Tony Bennett is a two-time felon. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He's been free since 2008 because a former Queens Assistant District Attorney violated a basic rule-of-law; he withheld critical evidence from Bennett’s attorney.

Former ADA Claude Stuart is not the only one.  A ProPublica analysis of more than a decade’s worth of state and federal court rulings found more than two dozen instances in which judges concluded city prosecutors committed harmful misconduct. 

“It’s really difficult to say how often misconduct occurs because a lot of time these case don’t  go to trial and they never go on to be appealed,” ProPublica reporter Joaquin Sapien told WNYC’s Soterios Johnson, “which is the first point the public has any really access or insight into whether any misconduct has occurred.”

Sapien says Stuart is the only prosecutor in their analysis that suffered any substantive discipline. He says one reason for that is that the Appellate Division, which is responsible for overseeing prosecutors, doesn’t act on their own to investigate but rely chiefly on complaints.

Listen to Soterios Johnson’s full interview with Joaquin Sapien above.

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