By Curt Chancler
America - Most Americans are stunned when they realize that prosecutors have absolute Immunity from civil rights lawsuits stemming from their work in the courtroom - Even if the prosecutor’s malicious or dishonest actions deprive a defendant of their Constitutional rights, property, children, or even liberty.
Armed with these absolutely unconstitutional privileges and immunities, prosecutors have the power to violate your civil rights and violate federal and state laws with immunity, while in pursuit of a conviction against you, your family members or anyone else in America they choose to attack and they do so with impunity.
In a nutshell, many prosecutors today knowingly engage in unethical behavior. Prosecutors overcharge questionable cases to pressure defendants to enter guilty pleas, they make prejudicial and misleading statements to both judges and juries and they routinely withhold exculpatory evidence that might undermine their impressive conviction rates – all of this without any fear of reprisal.
Most arguments on the evils of plea-bargaining are that every time a prosecutor anywhere in the United States offers something of value like relocation, no prosecution, less time in jail, lowered fines or the promise not to prosecute a loved one or family member to anyone for their sworn testimony against anyone including themselves, they have committed the crimes of bribing a witness, witness tampering and obstruction of justice. Our Founding Fathers were clear, that no one was to be above the law and that is evident in their writings. They were extremely clear that our Federal Constitution was the supreme law of the land and that no State Constitution can be in conflict with our Federal Constitution and that no law can be made that is in conflict with our Constitutions and still be an enforceable law.
Just one of the countless examples of our Founders intent that no one is above the law is clearly shown in the Fourteenth Amendment, wherein all citizens are guaranteed “equal protection of the laws,” and “due process of law.” Oregon’s Constitution, Article 1 Section 20, clearly states, “No law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges or immunities, which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens,” yet our courts have repeatedly found that prosecutors have immunity for their actions in conducting their so-called job of “prosecuting,” and in their daily practice of forcing plea-bargains upon defendants…
Federal law is clear on the bribing of witnesses in our Federal Criminal Code and Rules. Title 18 chapter 11 Sec. 201 states, “whoever directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers, or promises anything of value to any person, or offers or promises such person to give anything of value to any other person or entity, with intent to influence the testimony under oath or affirmation of such first-mentioned person as a witness upon a trial, hearing or other proceeding, before any court, any committee of either House or both Houses of Congress, or any agency, commission, or officer authorized by the laws of the United State to hear evidence or take testimony, or with intent to influence such person to absent himself therefrom; or directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity in return for being influenced in testimony under oath or affirmation as a witness upon any such trial, hearing, or other proceeding, or in return for absenting himself therefrom; shall be fined under this title not more than three times the value or monetary equivalent of the thing of value or imprisoned for not more than fifteen years or both.
This federal law is clear in that if you bribe or attempt to bribe or seek, demand, or except a bribe to influence or to gain your testimony or to make yourself absent from that trial, you have committed the crime of bribery in the form bribing a witness or a witness excepting a bribe and these crimes cannot be committed without also committing the crimes of witness tampering and obstruction of justice.
Thomas Jefferson observed that the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground and nothing gives Jefferson’s observations more credence than the US Supreme Court’s decision in 1976, in the case of Imbler v. Pachtman. Here the court decided that prosecutors have absolute immunity from civil rights lawsuits for their work in the courtroom.
The court acknowledged that its ruling “does leave the genuinely wronged defendant without civil redress against a prosecutor, whose malicious or dishonest actions deprives him of liberty,” but the Court believed the alternative was worse: by leaving prosecutors to fear a lawsuit or bankruptcy every time they lose a trial. The Supreme Court has said that instead of being sued, prosecutors who break the rules could be kicked out of the legal profession or even charged with a crime. This however, is dependent upon another member of the very same club (Bar) they belong to, initiating such an action against them – which rarely happens. In a majority of cases, their fellow Bar members simply sweep any corruption under the rugs at their “justice” buildings.
Argument from opposition: Plea-bargaining keeps the government from spending billions, prosecuting every case and costing the tax-payers too much money.
Answer: If prosecutors did their jobs, they would dismiss cases that shouldn’t be prosecuted for lack of evidence, or evidence in favor of the defendant and like-wise, prosecute those they are confident in convicting, which relies on their ability to perform the job they are paid for, as well as the evidence they possess. Eliminating stacked charges, meant to force plea-bargains, would actually protect prosecutors from lawsuits.
Argument from opposition: If a prosecutor is in fear of being sued for filing charges, they are not only hindered in their ability to perform their duty, how much tax-payer money would be spent on defending prosecutors from retaliation lawsuits?
Answer: Again, if there isn’t enough evidence to prosecute, then there shouldn’t be ANY charges. If prosecutors did their jobs, and investigated each case, they shouldn’t fear lawsuits.
Everything we know about the intent of the framers of our Constitution, from their struggles to create it, to the Constitution itself tells us that government, whether it be the legislative, judicial, or executive, are all to be held accountable to the people for their actions as our representatives. In fact, our Founding Fathers felt that it was so important that the people’s representatives obey our Constitution, they made that fact very clear in Article VI of our Constitution, where it states, “the Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State legislatures, and all Executive and Judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this Constitution.” When Article VI of our Constitution is read in its entirety it makes one thing very clear and that is the word shall is an order, a directive, that all of the above mentioned servants of the people shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this Constitution.
Another shining example of our founding fathers intent to limit the prosecutorial powers of the prosecutor is found in Amendment VI of our Bill of Rights, where it makes no provision for the practice of plea-bargaining, as it lays out the establishment of our fair trial principle that; “In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an fair and impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of Counsel for his defense.”
Again, in Amendment VI of our Bill of Rights the word shall is an order, a directive that in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by a fair and impartial jury. The absence of any provision for plea-bargaining in our Constitution or our Bill of Rights is no accident, because our founders knew and understood the inherent nature of man. They knew if they provided a provision that would allow a prosecutor to take the accused behind closed doors and make deals outside of the purview of a Judge and Jury, that it would be inviting prosecutorial misconduct and a complete corruption of the justice system itself.
"...our Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges have special privileges and immunitites that allow them to live above the law, without the fear of civil law suits."
The constitutional rational underlying plea-bargaining and the belief that prosecutors can have privileges and immunity’s that places them above the laws they violate in the pursuit of a conviction, cannot withstand the scrutiny of public opinion and common sense.
Only someone who is history challenged, constitutionally retarded, or both, could believe that the intent of our Founding Fathers was to fight a war that could cost them everything they owned, including their lives and the lives of their families and love ones. They spent eleven years, many of them away from their homes and families, exhausting their financial fortunes, while arguing and debating the content of a written Constitution that would make our form of government the envy of the rest of the world. For them to then grant immunity to the very people they sought to protect us from, can only be considered absolute lunacy.
Our Founding Fathers never intended nor does our Constitution grant to our US Supreme Court the power or the authority to grant privileges or immunities to anyone. Yet in several cases our US Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges have special privileges and immunities that allow them to live above the law, without the fear of civil law suits. The best example of privileges and immunity’s leading to wide spread and egregious abuses of power, would be the example that plea-bargaining provides.
Plea-bargains cheat the innocent, just as they cheat the public. If a person has committed a crime, public safety demands that person to pay for their crime. If a person who is innocent is charged with a crime, the plea-bargain becomes no more and no less than out and out Blackmail.
Routinely across America, prosecutors offer plea-bargains to innocent people. The plea-bargain goes something like this; you are facing 5, 10, 15 years in prison or in some cases even more. You can go to trial or you can plead guilty to one of several charges against you and only receive a sentence of 18 months, maybe a little less in prison. What a dilemma. Either a person accepts the Blackmail or faces having his/her life ruined in a possible lengthy prison sentence. And they call this justice…
It’s hard to believe that plea-bargains actually save the tax-payers money, because “our” justice system has locked up more people in America than any other justice system, world-wide. How much do “us-tax-payers” spend on housing these prisoners, and how many of these prisoners plea-bargained?
Is our justice system, not a corrupt business set up to keep the cash flow steadily filling the system and constantly breaking the public? No wonder so many people strive to become an attorney and take part in such a lucrative business. How many attorneys live in your town?
Remember, every prosecutor in America has absolute Immunity from civil rights lawsuits stemming from their work in the courtroom, even if the prosecutor’s malicious or dishonest actions deprive an innocent defendant of their liberty. What can we do to change this evil system we have allowed to flourish for many decades? The only possible answer that I can come up with is for the US~Observer to take the immunity and plea-bargain issues head on.
The math is simple folks, plea bargaining and prosecutors with immunities equal our American justice system of today, a dysfunctional and corrupt system of tyranny from top to bottom and a blight on our nation, our Constitution, and the memories of our Founding Fathers and all that they stood for.
“Plea bargaining gives a prosecutor the power to punish you for exercising your Constitutional Rights and immunity allows him to get away with it.” – Curt Chancler
Wake up America - Wake up before it is too late!