National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

Conrad Black on the American ‘Prosecutocracy’

From the  New  York  Sun Opinion Page:

The Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments guarantee a grand jury (implicitly, though this is not expressly stated, to ensure against capricious prosecutions), just compensation for seized property, due process, access to counsel (of choice), prompt justice, an impartial jury, and reasonable bail. All of these guarantees have been sliced and pulverized to varying levels of granularity in the 50 states. Grand juries are rubber stamps that almost never withhold what is asked by prosecutors, and their proceedings are often unknown to suspects and targets as they occur.

The seizure of property, especially if that property is being relied on as a source for paying the legal bills of notoriously rapacious American lawyers, frequently occurs just before the prosecutors lay their charges, freezing the civil proceedings and rendering the defendant’s property unavailable as a source of sales or borrowing to pay for counsel, who almost always demand hefty retainers at the outset. The process — from identification of a target to the end of a trial — can often be several years, during which it is practically impossible for an accused person to function normally.

Juries are subjected to an intense propaganda blast from prosecutors in the areas where the case will be heard and the jurors selected, almost invariably echoed by the media, descending even to the likes of Nancy Grace, who routinely demands to know why uncharged possible suspects, whom she names, are “still at large.” Impartial juries in such circumstances, which obtain in all high-profile cases, are hard to come by.

Bail is not just a surety against flight but a tool of impoverishment against defendants, and is frequently far from reasonable. (I posted $38 million when I was a criminal defendant several years ago. It was a stretch but I managed it, despite an illegal asset seizure, but few people have the resources to defend themselves and even face the daunting odds against them in the courtroom.)

Read the whole thing.  For more info about Conrad Black and his case, go here.

 

Creative Commons License
This work by Cato Institute is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.