Saturday, March 05, 2005

On The Mark -- Finally, Common Sense Prevails

A few days ago there was an article on the front page of the LA Times about how some prosecutors had used the same evidence to convict separate defendants for a crime. In short, if two criminals were involved in a crime where one of the defendants killed somebody with a knife, the prosecutor in one trial would say that the defendant was the one who used the knife for the murder. The defendant was convicted of murder. Then in the trial for the second criminal, the prosecutor said that this defendant had used the knife to kill the same person. Obviously, the prosecutor had lied because only one of the criminals present used the knife to kill the victim. The article quoted ethicists and lawyers who debated from both sides whether the prosecutor was right to present false evidence in the second trial.

What's to debate, I thought. Obviously it's wrong. Prosecutors can't be allowed to shift and create evidence to win. Let's face it, prisoners on death row have been, and will continue to be, released when DNA evidence has proven they weren't involved in the crime for which they were convicted.

I was planning on writing on this subject for my "Enough Is Enough" series for Friday, but lack of time made it impossible. However, I was pleased to read in the papers, which I didn't get to until late Friday night, that the California Supreme Court had ruled 6 to 1 that prosecutors cannot adapt the evidence in separate trials to win their case when two or more perpetrators are involved.

Finally, common sense prevails. But now I'm curious to know who the lone holdout was.

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