Thursday, May 9, 2013

Interlude 26. At ABA Conference, California State Bar prosecutor Melanie J. Lawrence—notorious felon—denies the existence of prosecutorial misconduct

Prosecutorial misconduct has become so rampant in the U.S. that official ethicists recognize a problem of state-bar failure to prosecute prosecutors. kanBARoo court 85th Installment, California State Bar gives prosecutors free pass: From Philip Cline to Melanie J. Lawrence, concluded that state bars fail to prosecute prosecutors because state-bar prosecutors themselves commit rampant misconduct. A conclave of official ethicists and state-bar enforcers in Chicago last August illuminated the problem, first through the insights of academician Ellen Yaroshefsky of Cardozo Law and functionary Maureen E. Mulvenna of the Illinois state-bar establishment; second, from the example in their midst, Melanie J. Lawrence, representing the California State Bar. (Hat Tip: Helen W. Gunnarsson.)

Yaroshefsky explained research findings: winning outweighs legality when moralism convulses prosecutors once they convince themselves of the defendant's guilt.

Mulvenna described a case, In re Howes (D.C. 2012) 39 A.3d 1, which exposes the depth of state-bar complicity in prosecutorial misconduct. Prosecutor Howes bribed inmate witnesses to appear, by illegally dispersing witness-voucher funds. Howes then lied to the court to conceal the influence and embezzlement. Shockingly, half of the hearing panel favored a mere suspension, some members recommending duration as short as one year, on the ground that the prosecutor acted for meritorious reasons: convicting a guilty defendant.

One dissenter denied the problem: Lawrencea functional illiterate in the law—with emblematic California State Bar unearned arrogance and condescension, lectured the academicians to “go and read the reports for yourself.” Lawrence’s denial is not the result of naivete. Lawrence knows the California State Bar ignores prosecutorial misconduct, because she perpetrated proven misconduct in full view of the State Bar and not only got away with it but was twice promoted. (See also: 14th Installment, Turning Point, including Comments;15th Installment, PREDICT the Court's Ruling; and 22nd Installment, Can you tell victory from defeat?) Delegating Lawrence to opine on prosecutorial misconduct further ratifies hers and proves the problem the California State Bar dispatched Lawrence to Chicago to deny. 

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