» lawyers, Prosecutors, Victim's Rights » A Lie or Just Misleading?

A Lie or Just Misleading?

In previous posts, I complained about having to trust prosecutors to set up victim interviews. In case you don’t feel like clicking on the links, I’ll summarize: in Arizona, defense attorneys have to ask the prosecutor to ask the victim if he or she wants to talk to them. As I discussed in those posts, there are a lot of problems with that. I recently encountered a situation that highlighted one big problem.

The victim in one of my domestic violence cases has recanted. She is very eager to tell everyone, myself included, that she lied about what happened and wants the prosecutor to dismiss the charges. I know for a fact she told the prosecutor she wanted absolutely nothing to do with the case and was not willing to participate in any way. The letter I sent to the prosecutor reminding him of his obligations under Brady and Kyles demanded, among many other things, interviews with all of the prosecution’s witnesses. The victim, of course, is one of them.

Keeping in mind the fact I know the victim told the prosecution she would not cooperate with them or participate in the case because she wanted the charges dropped, consider the following sentence:

Note; [the victim] wishes not to be interviewed.

That appeared in the prosecutor’s written response to my letter. I think it’s seriously misleading, if not an outright lie. Your thoughts?

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3 Responses to "A Lie or Just Misleading?"

  1. Jeff Gamso says:

    Actually, it might be worth litigating the you-have-to-go-through-the-prosecutor rule.

    There’s a great Texas case, Stearnes v. Clinton, 780 SW2d 216 (Tex.Crim.App. 1989). Stearnes was facing capital charges. His lawyers, Carlton McLarty and Chuck Lanehart, were removed by the trial judge after they went to the prosecutor’s house to interview a witness who was staying there. The problem, you see, is that the prosecutor wouldn’t give them permission to interview the witness, which the prosecutor insisted they needed. The Court of Criminal Appeals put them back on the case.

    I was going to start quoting, but there’s so much good stuff in the opinion I’ll just say what I’ve said before: It should be in the briefcase of every criminal defense lawyer.

  2. Matt Brown says:

    I think you’re right.

  3. Cynthia says:

    Call me cynical but I believe it is a lie. She might not want to be interviewed by HIM (or her), but it is BRADY that she has recanted & if he made any effort whatsoever to talk to her (c/w), then he would be reporting the recantation to you. I think you should send him a letter telling him that you have been informed that she has recanted and you are concerned about the Brady violation which appears to be occurring (on a daily basis because Brady requires the information to be turned over as soon as possible – or some wording to that effect.) Don’t let him get away with his crap. Typical prosecutor. (AND, I cannot believe you have to get his permission. In Texas, we have a DUTY to at least try to interview every witness. If we had to go through the Harris County DA’s office, my guess is we would get 1 in 1000 interviewed! What a stupid rule!)

    Good luck!

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