Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What about Ethics?

I was looking over a case Masters vs Gilmore,  It's a case of a prosecutor's misconduct. The beginning of the lawsuit cites the ethical canons of the office of prosecutor. I thought they would be interesting food for thought. 
Canon 5 of the American Bar Association (“ABA”) Canons of Professional Ethics adopted in 1908 provides:
The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public prosecution is not to convict, butto see that justice is done. The suppression of facts or the secreting of witnessescapable of establishing the innocence of the accused is highly reprehensible.

In turn, Ethical Consideration (“EC”) 7-13 of the ABA Code of Professional Responsibility
adopted in 1969 provides:
The responsibility of a public prosecutor differs from that of the usual advocate;his duty is to seek justice not merely to convict. ... With respect to evidence andwitnesses, the prosecutor has responsibilities different from those of a lawyer inprivate practice: the prosecutor should make timely disclosure to the defense ofavailable evidence, known to him, that tends to negate the guilt of the accused,mitigate the degree of the offense, or reduce the punishment. Further, aprosecutor should not intentionally avoid pursuit of evidence merely because hebelieves it will damage the prosecutor’s case or aid the accused.

These principles have been acknowledged by the Colorado Supreme Court in
People v.District Court, 632 P.2d 1022 (Colo. 1981). The Court stated
Our analysis begins with recognition that the duty of the prosecutor is to seek
justice, not merely convict. As stated in Singer v. United States, “... the (prosecutor) in a criminal prosecution is not an ordinary party to a controversy, but is a ‘servant of the law’ with a‘twofold aim ... that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer.’”
... But there is more. These principles are enshrined in the jurisprudence of the United
States Supreme Court. See Young v. United States ex rel. Vuitton et Fils S.A.,
481 U.S. 787(1987); Singer v. United States, 380 U.S. 24 (1965). In Young, the Supreme Court said

This distinctive role of the prosecutor is expressed in [EC] 7-13 of Canon 7 of the[ABA] Model Code of Professional Responsibility (1982): “The responsibility ofa public prosecutor differs from that of the usual advocate; his duty is to seekjustice, not merely to convict.”

...These principles even find expression chiseled into the stone of the Robert F. Kennedy Center (Department of Justice Headquarters, Washington, D.C., constructed in 1935)
where it is admonished that[t]he United States wins its case whenever justice is done one of itscitizens in the Courts.”  

Implicit in these principles is the notion that justice be done to victims, to their families,and to the United States Constitution. This happens when fundamental fairness applies toconvict the truly guilty. Bedrock principles, yes. Fundamental and objectively reasonable
within the meaning of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution,of course. And, these principles long pre-date the events of the case now before this Court.  

Now, average citizen, I defy you to look at the Billings' Murder case and the role of the prosecutor and find any actions within this ethical requirements.  If these things are supposed to be the status quo, how can a man be tried, convicted and sentenced to death in 3 days?