CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, January 1, 2010

Government Misconduct Cited in Dismissal of Case Against Blackwater Defendants

The New York Times story is here:

On Thursday, Judge Ricardo M. Urbina threw out manslaughter and weapons charges against five Blackwater guards because he said prosecutors had violated the men’s rights by building the case based on sworn statements that had been given by the guards under the promise of immunity.

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It's always somewhat puzzling to me on those rare occasions when a judge lashes out at prosecutors for abusing defendants' rights.

From what I've seen, overzealousness in bringing charges, leveraging testimony from "cooperating" witnesses who typically have a huge stake in helping to secure convictions, withholding "substanttially exculpatory evidence" from grand jurors and presenting distorted versions of witnesses' testimony is pretty much business as usual for win-at-any-cost prosecutors in the American justice system.

The only thing that appears to stand out in this instance is the State Department's promise of immunity for the Blackwater killers in exchange for owning up to what they did.

Too bad judges aren't more consistent in reigning in run-amok prosecutors.

Posted by: John K | Jan 2, 2010 7:21:43 AM

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