"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

To Answer Your Question...

“The only question I have for (prosecutors) is how they sleep at night?”

This is the question Cynthia Sommer posed when prosecutors in San Diego declined to re-prosecute her for the murder of her Marine husband.

A jury convicted her after hearing that her healthy husband had 1,000 times the normal amount of arsenic in his body. They also heard all about problems with the chain of custody of the decendent's tissue samples and how the results were highly unusual, causing even the government's witness to doubt their reliability; and yet they convicted her anyway.

In addition to the physical evidence of arsenic poisoning, Cynthia's own flagrant and disgusting behavior assuredly help convince the jury of her guilt: Cynthia had gone on a binge of breast implants, promiscuous sex (sordid details here), and partying in the months after her husband's death, while her four children were who knows where.

Now, after Sommers' conviction was reversed because her first attorney was ruled to be incompetent, it appears that new tissue sample tests show no arsenic at all, leading the prosecution to have to drop attempts at a retrial. Sommers' new lawyer accused the San Diego DA of "gross negligence."

What would have been grossly negligent would have been for the DA to ignore the original arsenic finding, especially given Sommers' less-than-grief-stricken behavior.

They can sleep at night, Cynthia, because they did their job with the information and facts as they existed. They're also doing their job now by declining further attempts at prosecution. If you feel misused, instead of taking it out on prosecutors who have a duty to act on facts that after all, were enough to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, how about looking to your own conduct and what impact it had in your conviction?

The job of a prosecutor is not to act as infallible demi-god and guarantee that no hint of doubt exists in a case; it is only to bring charges he or she reasonably believes are supported by probable cause and which he reasonably believes can be substantiated by admissible evidence at trial.

Here, in the end, the system worked; a new trial was ordered, a new test was done, and lacking sufficient evidence, the prosecution declined to pursue charges.

Far from showing negligence, the case is another example that "the system" works.

1 comment:

dui lawyer san diego said...

thanks for answering, can you please write a follow up post