Cops dating felons
It is rarer still for justices – usually in the state Supreme Court or appellate court – to reverse convictions because of misconduct. Michael Darnell Harris, now 53, has been behind bars for 33 years on four murder convictions in Detroit, Michigan.
But a new study by Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project shows Southern California ranks high in reversals in which misconduct by a prosecutor played a factor. Leon Cannizzaro refuses to acknowledge either his innocence or the gross misconduct of the police and prosecutors who put him in prison. Harris was convicted of the 1981 murder of 77-year-old Ula Curdy in 1983.
Kussmaul is still in prison, and all four defendants want their innocence to be a matter of record. Prosecutorial misconduct and the misuse of jailhouse informants are persistent problems in the criminal justice system.
According to the National Registry of Exonerations, since 1989 there have been 923 exonerations tied to official misconduct by prosecutors, police, or other government officials, 89 of them in cases involving the use of jailhouse snitches.
It came about because the system protected the system from abject embarrassment. Police never looked at the victim's father, Marshall Morgan, Sr., who got ,000 insurance from his son's death.
Worse, the prosecutor responsible for the misconduct remains in office. Back in his heyday, Mark Price was one of at least 22 people against whom Paulus either inflated or fabricated charges designed to push his own career forward.
Now Price is seeking a new trial, based on extensive evidence discovered in the 25 years since his murder conviction. It would be an unusual abduction strategy for anyone, particularly for a 52-year-old grocery store manager and Barboursville, VA family man.
Criminal defense attorneys who were never prosecutors themselves often assume that prosecutorial misconduct is rife because prosecution attracts authoritarian personality types.
Although it is surely true that some are natural bad actors, experience demonstrates that prosecutors are strongly influenced to disregard and minimize rights by the culture that surrounds them.
The abuses put innocent people in jail, set guilty people free..