Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Those who prosecute our laws have a solemn responsibility to seek justice, not simply victories in court. Their duties include not prosecuting the innocent and allowing defendants to examine all evidence.

Yet, in their zeal to look good with superiors — or to have better material for their political re-election ads — prosecutors too often forget about the justice part.

That’s why media watchdogs like blogger Radley Balko are so important.

Longtime Common Sense readers may remember Balko for helping free Corey Maye from Mississippi’s death row.

Now Balko brings us the 2011 Worst Prosecutor of the Year Award. Folks like us get to decide the winner from the ten prosecutors he’s nominated. (Mark your ballot here.)

You could vote for District Attorney Tracey Cline. She replaced disgraced prosecutor Mike Nifong, who tried to frame the Duke Lacrosse team, and she’s following in his footsteps.

Or consider Grant County, Wisconsin, District Attorney Lisa Riniker. She charged a 6-year-old boy with first-degree sexual assault for playing doctor with a neighbor girl.

There’s Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, who charged Mark Fiorino with “reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct” for tape-recording police threatening to kill him for openly and legally carrying a gun.

I’m voting for my local prosecutor, State’s Attorney Paul Ebert of Prince William County, Virginia. It’s Ebert’s third nomination in a career of failing to investigate official corruption . . . too busy hiding evidence from defendants.

Mulling over the list of nominees, one’s reminded that power must be checked.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Jeff Daiell says:


    Please look into Maryland v. Tasker.

    Jeff Daiell

  2. Drik says:

    Not a new problem.
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? aka “Who will guard the guardians themsleves” from the Roman poet Juvenal.
    We have a bigger problem with national government which proposes to rescue us whether we need it or not.

  3. “Policing the Prosecutors” invites this comment from the Midwest.
    (for your future reference, Paul Jacob))

    Summary #1
    Edward M. Joffe. (See Joffe online.)
    Sacco and Vanzetti: Guilty as Charged. Trafford Publishing, Victoria BC, 2007, p. 8.

    “Sacco and Vanzetti were not tried in an atmosphere of prejudice or hysteria. They received a fair trial and the post-conviction review of the proceedings was unprecedented in its thoroughness and fairness. Sacco and Vanzetti were not convicted because they were anarchists, which they were, but because they were violent murderers. Looking back, it is very difficult to comprehend the disconnect between truth and the myth that an objective and careful review of the evidence discloses.” [I corresponded with Joffe.]

    Summary #2
    Current, Richard N., and Gerald J. Goodwin. A History of the United States. New York: Knopf, 1980, p. 622.

    “In April 1920 a payroll robbery and murder in Massachusetts led
    to the trial and conviction of two anarchists, both Italian immigrants–Nicola
    Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Many civil libertarians believed that the
    two men had been prosecuted on the basis of their radicalism and not on
    any real evidence of criminal guilt. As court appeals dragged on,
    sympathizers abroad and at home demanded the release of the two.
    Finally, in August 1927, both were executed. For liberals and radicals
    throughout the world, the case remained a cause celebre, and
    the names of Sacco and Vanzetti a rallying cry.” [I corresponded with Current in 1992.]

    Boyer, Paul S., et al. The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2009. P. 741: “Later research on Boston’s anarchist community and ballistics tests on Sacco’s gun pointed to their guilt.” Boyer is Editor in Chief of The Oxford Companion to United States History.
    Several years ago I pointed out to Dr. Boyer three factual errors on the Sacco-Vanzetti entry in The Oxford Companionn (p. 681). Errors were committed by a prima donna professor on the west coast who said she was too busy to chat with me.

    Here is Mr. Landers’ evaluation of the 2007 book by Bruce Watson–”Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind.”

    Landers, Robert K. “Martyrdom Without End.” Wall Street Journal. Aug. 18, 2007. Landers: “It’s apparent that, as a historian, Mr. Watson is no Sherlock Holmes.”
    Landers is a former senior editor at the Wilson Quarterly and a former staff writer at Congressional Quarterly, and was a reporter for Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Since 1993 I have kept in touch with David Felix, who published “Protest: Sacco and Vanzetti and the Intellectuals” in 1965. Felix received strong reviews from men who had no axe to grind.

    One review–

    “In Kill Now, Talk Forever, Richard Newby, Associate Professor of
    English at Illinois State University, opts not to interpret . . . the case for
    and against the defendants. He chooses instead to reprint the transcript
    of the entire Dedham trial of 1921 and invites the reader to make a
    reasoned decision about whether the men were guilty. . . . Newby th
    case. . . . As a piece of historical scholarship, Newby’s volume . . . is
    impressive.” Jonathan Pearson. Times Literary Supplement, May 22, 2009, p. 29.

    Thanks, Paul Jacob, for your outstanding columns that keep readers well informed.

    Dick Newby
    Editor–Kill Now, Talk Forever: Debating Sacco and Vanzetti (copyright September 21, 2011–last revision) Author House.

  4. Sairga Schmairga says:

    Sir, have I got a nomination for YOU!! In the case of Maryland v. Tasker, 12K-84-010109, the Prosecutor hid the ONLY physical evidence from trial because it was 100% exculpatory. ALL of the accuser’s testimony was refuted by the MEDICAL REPORTS AND TRIAL TESTIMONY including her in-court identification! The testimony of her “eyewitnesses” was refuted as well. The prosecutor lied to the court stating that the lab report had not come, so the court postponed – although the test was actually there two days before. I have documents provided by the State of Maryland if you would care to have actual proof of my charges of misconduct. The prosecutor was Jay Eliot Robinson, who ws promoted on the backs of Tasker and the other six men she’s accused of rap SO FAR – five of whom we have case number for, all of whom, to our knowledge are African American…

  5. Jay says:

    where si the link to vote? My chocie si the one with the 6 year olds. Closer to (my home)-in Tampa, FL., soem 12 year olds (yes, they should have known better) were playing, and one puleld down his pants, and sat on the face of another 12 year old. He ( the one sitting on the others face-although they all said that they were friends and playing) is being branded a sex offender. (The gender of the person shoe face was sat on is unknown to me). That probably shoudl get an honorable mention.

    And, in the bastion fo liberalism, a 3 (I think, perhaps the child was 4) riding a bicycle, on the sidewalk, (thsi was in Manhattan, in an affluent area) accidentally crashed into an elderly woman. The woman fell, and eventually passed away. Theyw ere charging the child with (as I recall) negligent homicide. (if not that, another felony).

    I personally, while having no children, have friends with young children- of 2, 4 and that age bracket- seemingly smart children, but babies, and really shouldn’t be held acocuntable. (The idiots-I mean law, felt the child should have riddent the bicycle in the street-and, I guess if an infant is run over, that si OK).

  6. Jay says:

    sorry if any typos

  7. D. Michael Martindale says:

    Drik, I wonder if you’d consider it a bigger problem if you were a victim of one of these corrupt prosecutors.

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