In the years since I started publishing this Blog I have become increasingly disturbed by the 'white elephant' in the room: Sheer, unadulterated, willful misconduct in the criminal justice system - much of it involving forensic evidence - committed by lab technicians, pathologists, police officers, prosecutors and others. Think Annie Dookhan; Think Sonia Farak; Think David Kofoed; Think Charles Smith; Think Ken Anderson; Think Gene Morrison. I have therefore decided to run this image of a white elephant at the top of every applicable post henceforth, to draw our reader's attention to what I see as a major problem in all too many criminal justice systems - my own included.
Harold Levy; Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
"Reformers have for years recommended that all forensic labs be independent from law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies' and this is a key reform promoted by The Justice Project (2008). But fixing these problems is only half the answer' because half of the wrongful convictions attributed to misleading forensic evidence involved deliberate forensic fraud' evidence tampering' and/or perjury.
From "The Elephant in the Crime Lab," by co-authored by Sheila Berry and Larry Ytuarte; Forensic Examiner; Spring, 2009; http://www.t-mlaw.com/blog/post/the-elephant-in-the-crime-lab/
STORY: "Why Are the Courts Protecting Bad Cops? The L.A. County sheriff wants to release the names of 300 deputies with histories of misconduct. He can’t," by Jessica Pishko, published by Slate and the Fair Punishment Project on March 15, 2017. (Jessica Pishko is the content director for the Fair Punishment Project. She is a writer in San Francisco.)
GIST: Right now, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell has in his possession a list of about 300 deputies who have been guilty of “moral turpitude.” According to a letter the Sheriff’s Department sent to these deputies last year, the “performance deficiencies” that fall under that banner include tampering with evidence, making false statements, and using unreasonable force. These are the sorts of activities that might reasonably get a deputy fired, and they are certainly things that criminal defendants facing these officers in a courtroom have a right to know. To his credit, Sheriff McDonnell wants to share the names of these deputies with prosecutors. Handing this list to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office would be a significant act under the law, as prosecutors are bound to disclose verified bad behavior by police to criminal defendants. It would also be significant culturally, given that McDonnell’s predecessor Lee Baca pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI. The entire department also reached a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice in 2015 due to “a pattern or practice of inadequate mental health care and excessive force” in Los Angeles County jails. Releasing this list of deputies might not be possible, though. The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, a union that represents the department’s nearly 10,000 working deputies, has filed a lawsuit arguing that McDonnell does not have the right to turn over the list under California law, which shields law enforcement personnel files more strictly than almost any other state. A California appellate court agreed. The parties to the lawsuit are now waiting to see whether the California Supreme Court will weigh in on the case. Information about a law enforcement officer’s history of bad behavior falls under a set of obligations called the “Brady rule.” It’s probably the most misunderstood law in criminal proceedings."
The entire story can be found at:
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/