Prosecutors are severely restricted by their perpetual relationship with the police. They rely on police effort, cooperation, and good will for the quality of their cases.
Prosecutors must guarantee cops that they are on the officers’ side. The prosecutor who is excessively requesting of cops, excessively judgmental, as well “by the book” is regularly scorned and detested.
The outcome of being detested by the police is that the prosecutor gets next to no participation. . The prosecutor’s role and the relationship between prosecutors and police officers makes the prosecutor a controversial choice for the role of monitoring and deterring police officer dishonesty.
Police officers often tell lies on the stand to reinforce the prosecution and not jeopardize their own standing within their own particular law enforcement community. What is more, not only do law officers frequently lie, but the primary witnesses for the prosecution often commit perjury for the state, and do so under the guidance of the prosecutor.
This is what happened in my son’s case. In the police report, the victim/witness said that the perpetrator was wearing a mask that only left the eyes visible.
By the time we got to trial, almost 3 years later, she said, the mask only covered the bottom lip. The hoodie enabled her to see the forehead, nose & some hairline .
Decision by a jury depends largely on prosecutorial integrity and proper use of prosecutorial power.
If law enforcement officers, in their zeal to win and convict, manipulate or intimidate witnesses into false testimony, or suppress evidence that impeaches the prosecution’s own witnesses or even goes to the defendant’s innocence, then the chances of an accurate jury verdict are greatly diminished.
When Witnesses Get It Wrong
In case after case, DNA has proven that eyewitness identification is frequently inaccurate. In the wrongful convictions where eyewitness misidentification played a role, the circumstances varied substantially. For example, the Innocence Project has worked on cases in which:
- A witness made an identification in a “show-up” procedure (where witnesses are shown only the suspect at the scene of the crime or in another incriminating context) from the back of a police car hundreds of feet away from the suspect in a poorly lit parking lot in the middle of the night.
- A witness in a rape case was shown a photo array where only the photo of the person that the police suspected was marked with an “R”, while the rest were unmarked
- Witnesses substantially changed their description of a perpetrator (including key information such as height, weight and presence of facial hair) after they learned more about a particular suspect.
- Witnesses only made an identification after multiple photo arrays or lineups — and then made hesitant identifications (saying they “thought” the person “might be” the perpetrator, for example) – but at trial the jury was told the witnesses did not waver in identifying the suspect.
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