Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Former prosecutor Scott Turow gives Cyrus Vance passing grade on handling of DSK matter

Excerpt: " . . . the standard that Vance and his assistants employed in deciding to dismiss the case is noteworthy and laudable. "If we do not believe her beyond a reasonable doubt," the prosecution wrote in its motion to dismiss, referring to Diallo, 'we cannot ask a jury to do so.' This is not the bar all prosecutors set in deciding whether or not to go forward. Ethical rules prohibit lawyers from calling a witness whose testimony they know to be false; but the rule is not the same when the testimony is possibly true but dubious. Particularly in urban criminal courts, where caseloads tend to be overwhelming and the police sometimes push cases aggressively, prosecutors are often not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt about the truthfulness of particular testimony. Frequently they leave it to jurors to determine the credibility of a particular witness. In trying to talk prosecutors out of weak cases, I have been told more than once, "I wasn't there, man, and neither were you. Let the 12 of them figure it out."

"In practice, this means that even defendants who are probably innocent must endure the anguish of trial. I once represented a young man in a gang murder case who had been arrested and indicted along with eight other people, even though his name was never mentioned in the grand jury testimony. Although it seemed clear that the police had mistaken this young man for his brother, both the prosecutors and the judge told me to 'put it on,' meaning go to trial; the client sat in court for several days, in jeopardy of a lengthy prison term, before the case against him was finally dismissed."

Source: http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5740322-182/reasonable_doubt_and_the_strauss-kahn_case.csp