POLITICAL observations & opinions

* NYT: public officials can be sued if they should have known that their conduct violated a constitutional right … LMW: this concept should be applied to prosecutors who knowingly abuse their powers to gain convictions of defendants they cannot legally prove to be guilty

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 2, 2011

******

Simon Glik videos police in Boston

******

NYT Editorial (9/1/11) …

  • In an important decision last week, a federal appeals court affirmed that the First Amendment protects the right to videotape the activities of police officers in public.
    • When three officers arrested a man in Boston Common one evening in 2007, a bystander named Simon Glik, concerned that the officers were using excessive force, pulled out his cellphone and made an audio and video recording of the arrest.
    • Unhappy about being recorded, one officer handcuffed and arrested Mr. Glik, too.
    • He was charged with wiretapping, along with other crimes.
  • After the charges were dismissed, Mr. Glik sued the Boston Police Department for violating his constitutional rights under the First and Fourth Amendments.
    • The officers claimed immunity from the lawsuit because they were performing official duties.
    • The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit wisely rejected that argument.
  • Public officials are entitled to limited immunity from lawsuits when they are operating in their official capacity. 
  • But they can be sued if they should have known that their conduct violated a constitutional right.

read the entire editorial at … http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/opinion/a-vital-liberty.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

******

LMW COMMENT …

If the concept that public officials “can be sued if they should have known that their conduct violated a constitutional right” gains widespread acceptance, then woe betide those prosecutors who knowingly abuse their powers to gain convictions of defendants they cannot legally prove to be guilty.

Prosecutors frequently hide evidence which tends to prove innocence and also create evidence of guilt. Don’t believe it? Check the facts, many of which are referenced in my novel A Good Conviction, which tells the story of a young man convicted of murder by a prosecutor who came to know he was innocent.

Such abuse happens way too often in America and it is a plague on our judicial system. A major reason it continues is that prosecutors who abuse their powers, even when they are caught and their improper convictions are overturned, are almost never punished.

If prosecutors were regularly subject to criminal charges and civil suits for their reprehensible behavior, perhaps they would not be so willing to continue cheating to build up their conviction rates.

Check out what readers say about A Good Conviction,

and purchase it in paperback or kindle format at … 

** purchase A GOOD CONVICTION by Lew Weinstein at amazon.com

******

Advertisements

One Response to “* NYT: public officials can be sued if they should have known that their conduct violated a constitutional right … LMW: this concept should be applied to prosecutors who knowingly abuse their powers to gain convictions of defendants they cannot legally prove to be guilty”

  1. Chris said

    Bravo Lew. The bill of rights have taken a shelaking from the patriot act. This legislation needs fair and open debate. Which has failed to happen year after year by both parties.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: