Kudos to the LA Times for noticing and joining the Kozinski chorus on the need for Congress, legislatures and judges to ACT to stop prosecutors from playing games that cause wrongful and unjust convictions of innocent people. That prosecutors can play games amounting to obstruction of justice, and sometimes subornation of perjury, in today’s society is inexcusable and an outrage. Yesterday’s LA Times editorial, pointing to a Kozinski dissent we have already featured, is a clear and correct call to action:
Kozinski is right: Courts need to deal more harshly with prosecutors who don’t play fair. The message, he says, should be, “Betray … and you will lose your ill-gotten conviction.” Congress and state legislatures can do their part by enacting laws such as a model statute developed by the National Assn. of Criminal Defense Lawyers that would make it harder for prosecutors to evade their Brady obligations. Prosecutors need to stop playing games with Brady.
Yes, prosecutors need to STOP, and it will take good judges, Congress, legislatures, and Bar Associations to make them. The Department of Justice vehemently opposes bipartisan and otherwise widely-supported legislation called the Fairness in Disclosure of Evidence Act, which has been pending in Congress for two years. DOJ’s opposition to this legislation is an oxymoron and an affront to the entire system of justice.
I can’t help but note, however, that the LA Times needs a new and better picture of Judge Kozinski. Here you go: