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Posts Tagged ‘prosecutor misconduct’

* A Good Conviction – Prologue

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 27, 2012

A Good Conviction … PROLOGUE

 Sing Sing Correctional Facility 

Disjointed memories haunt me, as they do every night, shattering my once great expectations and leaving me to share a cold clammy cell listening to a guy named Spider jerk off.

The darkness emits a rumbling undercurrent of sounds, pierced randomly by eerie howls. Inmates yell obscenities to one another, or worse, to no one.

Doors clang, footsteps echo and fade away, angry music blares in short bursts. Odors of urine, decaying food, stale smoke, and sweaty unwashed bodies assault the air. Mice and roaches scurry.

The longer I’m here, the harder it is to imagine being anywhere else.

Giving in and allowing myself to cry would be suicidal. Others would observe my fear, and act on it. Predatory others. “Hey, white boy, they gonna’ love you’ ass in here.”

How long before I lose my mind? And will that be better or worse? Is it already happening? Every day, the person who was Joshua Blake recedes further from reality. Is this process irreversible? Will there be a point when I can never again be who I was?

There’s a sudden movement close to me and I cringe. I’m going to be hurt. Relief. It’s just my cellmate, stirring in the bunk below me. The fact that his presence is actually comforting shows how much my life has changed.

Spider rolls out of his bunk and slides into view. In the dim light, I make out hairy legs, dark crotch, gray prison shirt. He settles his muscled bulk onto the toilet. More sounds and smells. When he’s done, I roll off the upper bunk, take his place, feel his sweat. I remember what it used to be like in a bathroom with a door and a seat on the toilet.

I climb up, careful not to step on Spider’s arm, crawl under my thin blanket, shiver in the chill. Spider’s bulk shifts in the bunk below me. He settles into a slow steady rhythm which pulses my bunk as well as his. Spider is once again masturbating.

I strain for diversion.

A familiar burr grinds at the edges of my mind. I force myself to focus, visualizing each distinct moment of my arrest and trial.

I see a look in a man’s eye. I grab for it, but once again it slips away, and  I’m sinking, gasping, a deep eternal coldness filling my body.

Spider finishes with a grunt and a sudden lurch just as I slide into my personal bottomless lake of despair.

Deep in the murky water, the man’s face reappears, staring at me intently, a puzzled expression in his eyes.

And – finally – I know the face.

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* prosecutors who withheld evidence in the Senator Stevens case receive “pathetic” 15 days and 45 days suspension

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 26, 2012

Senator Stevens … a victim of prosecutor misconduct (withholding of evidence) … similar to the misconduct of the prosecutor in Lew Weinstein’s novel “A Good Conviction”

as reported in the NYT (5/26/12) …

  • The legal team that defended Senator Ted Stevens in his corruption trial has harshly criticized as “laughable” and “pathetic” the punishment that the Justice Department handed out to two prosecutors found to have engaged in reckless professional misconduct in the case.
  • “No reasonable person could conclude that a mere suspension of 40 and 15 days for two of the prosecutors is sufficient punishment for the wrongdoing found in the report,” the Stevens legal team said in a written statement after the report was released Thursday.
  • Mr. Stevens, a Republican, was convicted in 2008 of seven felony counts of lying on Senate financial disclosure documents.

The judge in the case dismissed the conviction in April 2009 after the Justice Department admitted misconduct.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/26/us/politics/penalties-for-stevens-prosecutors-called-pathetic.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

******

Lew’s COMMENT …

Misconduct by prosecutors is a cancer on the American justice system.  Far more often than we would like to admit prosecutors either withhold evidence that tends to prove the defendant’s innocence or actually make up evidence to prove guilt (think jailhouse snitch). In most cases, even when a conviction is overturned due to prosecutor misconduct, the prosecutor is not charged or disciplined in any way. What prosecutor wants to prosecute a colleague?

In the Stevens case, an investigation was made, misconduct was proven, the guilty verdict was overturned, and the penalties given to the prosecutors were utterly ludicrous.

I wrote about this problem in a novel called “A Good Conviction,” where a young man is convicted of a murder he did not commit by a prosecutor who knew he was innocent. If you want to understand what it feels like to be in prison for a crime you did not commit, read “A Good Conviction.”

read the PROLOGUE of “A Good Conviction” here …  

 * A Good Conviction – Prologue

see what readers think at  … 

* praise for A Good Conviction

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* A GOOD CONVICTION

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