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NY Legislators Call For Oversight Of Prosecutors

chnSome New York legislators are calling for a new state commission to receive and investigate complaints against prosecutors, similar to the panel that oversees the state’s judges.

State Sen. John DeFrancisco, chairman of the Senate Finance committee, says prosecutors have more discretion than any public officials in determining who, how and where to prosecute. The Syracuse Republican says when misconduct occurs, it’s usually discovered years later with the state paying a lot of money.

Assemblyman Nick Perry, a Brooklyn Democrat, says there’s an atmosphere of pressure on prosecutors to produce convictions, which can result in malfeasance even when it’s unintended.

District attorneys are elected in each of the state’s 62 counties.

Both have sponsored legislation to establish the commission. The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the bill last week.


6 Responses

  1. “the voters are in charge of oversight of prosecutors”

    Not really. Many DAs run for re-election unopposed with the support of all political parties thanks to the Wilson Pakula law, and political machines often make sure their guys stay in place for decades.

  2. charliehall : Political machines don’t make sure they stay in place for decades, voters do. While my experiences are limited to places such as Brooklyn, Albany and Chicago – I’m fairly certain that while political machines are powerful, they get that way by being popular. They fear alienating their voters. It isn’t like Tammany is going to unleash a goon squad on you if you support a competent or honest candidate. The whole philosophy of the Democratic machines has always been to keep the voters in line with goodies, not truncheons.

  3. don’t worry. nothing ever happens to judges in these commissions. nothing will ever happen to prosecutors in these commission.

  4. I think the issue behind this initiative is the (thankfully) small number of D.A.’s who, in order to put scalps on the wall, suppress evidence and do other underhanded things in order to convict innocent people. Think of Michael Naifong, who tried to frame the Duke lacrosse players several years ago.

    When unscrupulous D.A.s get caught, all their hundreds of cases are thrown into doubt, and the integrity of the judicial process is questioned. No government wants to deal with that.
    A layer of oversight should mean nothing to the vast majority of D.A.’s who handle their responsibilities with integrity. If it striaghtens out the few who need it, it’s worth it.

  5. “It isn’t like Tammany is going to unleash a goon squad on you if you support a competent or honest candidate.”

    Tammany Hall has been out of business for 40 years.

    “Democratic machines”

    Republican machines in places like Pennsylvania and Long Island have been every bit as corrupt.

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