HARVARD LAW GROUP DEEMS VERN BRASWELL’S PROSECUTOR ONE OF THE WORST IN AMERICA
A study from Fair Punishment Project, a Harvard Law School initiative designed to create a fair and accountable justice system, ranked Shelby County DA Amy Weirich the highest in Tennessee for prosecutorial misconduct. The executive director, Rob Smith said, “What we found is very troubling because this is not a matter of prosecutors simply using their discretion in ways we may not like, we found that these prosecutors regularly cross legal and ethical lines to win convictions at any cost.”
At the time of the Harvard findings, a Memphis criminal justice watchdog, Just City, issued the following statement,
…What they discovered clearly demonstrates that Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich is one of the most problematic prosecutors in the entire country. Among her colleagues nationwide, DAG Weirich’s office has more incidents of damaging misconduct and reversed trial outcomes than just about any other.
“In the six years since DAG Weirich’s appointment to this position, this amounts to more than just an appalling miscarriage of justice. Our criminal justice system has experienced significant delays and has spent millions of dollars as a result of this conduct. Victims and their families have been denied justice and the accused have spent years awaiting a fair determination of their guilt.
“To be clear, these are not isolated incidents or occasional instances of human error. This is a pattern of misconduct, ethical violations, and inappropriate behavior on the part of the top law enforcement official in Tennessee’s largest county. DAG Weirich’s long-standing and obvious record of misconduct is now becoming national news. This should embarrass and outrage our entire community, particularly the people for whom she is charged with seeking justice and the taxpayers who fund her office.”
The Fair Punishment Project said it highlighted four prosecutors who “repeatedly violated their constitutionaland ethical duties, shattering the lives of the defendants and their families” and of the four, Wierich was the most egregious.
“The judges in Shelby County, many whom are former prosecutors, tend to excuse the conduct as unintentional, even if it’s a repetitive pattern” said Michael Working, one of Noura Jackson’s lawyers.
According to Vern Braswell, “Amy Weirich seemed like she didn’t care anything about Judge Paula Skahan’s opinions, the Supreme Court of Tennessee, or the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility; she would nonchalantly answer “I can’t recall” and Judge Paula Skahan accepted it. What took the cake was when Wierich insinuated that the sealed envelope of hidden evidence may not existed. Then during a news interview, in true Trump fashion, she implied that it was a “conspiracy theory”. Not a single elected or public official with supervisory power did anything about her actions, it was as if they condoned it. At that point I learned the silence of the system’s protectors is worse than the transgressions of your adversaries.”
Surprisingly, the report said the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals had to remind Weirich that it is improper for the prosecutor to use epithets to characterize a defendant.”
The project was a joint initiative of Harvard Law School ‘s Criminal Justice Institute and its Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.
To see a full copy of The Recidivist: Four Prosecutors Who Repeatedly Violate the Constitution, click the download button below.
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Originally posted here.
Reposted with permission.
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