Friday, March 06, 2009

When a Prosecutor has a Conscience

Take the case of New York prosecutor Daniel Bibb. He was prosecuting a high profile case--the rehearing of two men convicted in the Palladium Night Club shooting--and came to the conclusion the two men charged were innocent.

The New York Times reports:

Spurred by the doubts about the case, the district attorney’s office had assigned Mr. Bibb to reinvestigate with two police detectives, an inquiry that took nearly two years and led to the hearing into whether the convictions should be overturned. In his interview last summer with The Times, Mr. Bibb said he had tried before the hearing to persuade his superiors that the convictions should be set aside, but was ordered to defend them in court anyway.

Instead, he said, he purposely threw the case. Defense lawyers involved in the hearing have confirmed that he quietly helped them. He tracked down hard-to-find witnesses who cast doubt on the convictions, and held back while cross-examining witnesses with long criminal records.

For Bibb, the fallout was that he became the target of an ethics investigation for having followed his conscience. Today's Times article reports that the investigation has concluded after 6 months that no basis exists for disciplinary action and the inquiry has been closed.

I share the opinion of David Luban of Georgetown University, who had praised Mr. Bibb and called the outcome a good one. He said that prosecutors need not always act as “full-fledged” adversaries. “Prosecutors are supposed to seek justice, not victory,” he said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hope. There ARE attorneys with firm ethics and admirable characters. This is a shining example of how those in law SHOULD be conducting themselves; with honor and passion for Truth instead of their selfish, life shattering wins. (Those 'wins' come with a price. There is a God.)