Law professor Bennett Gershman was quoted in a USA Today investigation of misconduct by federal prosecutors, saying it revealed “glaring misconduct” that is only “the tip of the iceberg.”
The story that was also picked up in many other daily newspapers nationwide. Here’s an excerpt:
“Federal prosecutors are supposed to seek justice, not merely score convictions. But a USA TODAY investigation found that prosecutors repeatedly have violated that duty in courtrooms across the nation. The abuses have put innocent people in prison, set guilty people free and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees and sanctions.
Judges have warned for decades that misconduct by prosecutors threatens the Constitution’s promise of a fair trial. Congress in 1997 enacted a law aimed at ending such abuses.
Yet USA TODAY documented 201 criminal cases in the years that followed in which judges determined that Justice Department prosecutors — the nation’s most elite and powerful law enforcement officials — themselves violated laws or ethics rules.
In case after case during that time, judges blasted prosecutors for “flagrant” or “outrageous” misconduct. They caught some prosecutors hiding evidence, found others lying to judges and juries, and said others had broken plea bargains.
USA TODAY found a pattern of “serious, glaring misconduct,” said Pace University law professor Bennett Gershman, an expert on misconduct by prosecutors. “It’s systemic now, and … the system is not able to control this type of behavior. There is no accountability.”
He and Alexander Bunin, the chief federal public defender in Albany, N.Y., called the newspaper’s findings “the tip of the iceberg” because many more cases are tainted by misconduct than are found. In many cases, misconduct is exposed only because of vigilant scrutiny by defense attorneys and judges.
Prof. Gershman was also interviewed by News 12 on August 27 on potential criminal charges for purgery for New York State Governor David Paterson. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXwbVHrAy4w