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A compelling reflection on prosecutorial misconduct by former Assistant District Attorney Robin L. Barton is a must-read. Titled “The ‘Pinstriped Wall of Silence’”, Barton’s article discusses the lack of outrage among prosecutors and their profession about the prosecutorial misconduct that is being routinely discovered in district attorneys’ offices around the country. She suggests “it’s as if  there’s a pin-striped wall of silence.”

We have copied part of her comment below, but encourage readers to view the entire article here.

 

Robin Barton, “The ‘Pinstriped Wall of Silence'”, The Crime Report, August 28, 2013.

“… The misconduct involved in these cases goes against everything that I believe a prosecutor should epitomize, which is to be a champion of justice. And it undercuts the public’s already eroding faith in the criminal justice system.

I truly believe that these rogue or incompetent prosecutors are still a small percentage of the profession. Nonetheless, the apparent extent of prosecutorial misconduct is disturbing and can’t be ignored.

However, equally troubling to me is the lack of outrage by other prosecutors, who should be condemning this conduct and calling for reforms to prevent similar behavior, such as better training for young prosecutors on issues including Brady material.

It’s as if  there’s a pin-striped wall of silence.

Although several bar associations have spoken out against misconduct by prosecutors, organizations specifically for prosecutors have been largely silent in the face of what could be an epidemic of improper and unethical behavior. And when these groups do speak out, it’s to downplay the extent of the corruption or quibble about the use of the term “misconduct.”

For example, the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) claims that one of its missions is to “foster and maintain the honor and integrity of the prosecuting attorneys of the United States.”

But the only official stand that the NDAA has taken with regards to “prosecutorial misconduct” is to object to the use of that term.

In 2010, the organization issued a resolution urging courts to use the term “error” instead of “misconduct.”

Really? That’s all that the oldest and largest professional organization representing prosecutors in the world has to say about conduct that undermines the honor and integrity of this profession?…”

 

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