Sunday, August 5, 2007

Politics and Prosecutions

Courts often refuse to allow evidence in a trial that would demonstrate that the prosecution was politically motivated. Selective prosecution claims place an enormous burden on the defense to produce evidence, evidence that often is in the hands of the prosecution.  But exposing the possibility that politics has motivated some high profile prosecutions is something that the legislature and press needs to focus upon.  It is good to see an editorial in the NYTimes that discusses this important issue. Perhaps the case where this scrutiny is the most needed is with respect to former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.  With statutes that are overbroad, and allow prosecutors enormous discretion, it is important to have checks on whether the use of charges in these circumstances have political motivations.

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