Last week, ProPublica's Joaquin Sapien detailed how New York City prosecutors had committed harmful misconduct in more than two dozen cases — sometimes putting the innocent behind bars while allowing the guilty back on the streets — yet several prosecutors received promotions and raises shortly after courts cited them for abuses.
"There's probably a lot of practitioners in the criminal justice system who are upstanding people with a lot of integrity and have no interest in putting an innocent person in jail but that's not really our point," Sapien explains. "Our point is that when these things happen the consequences are devastating for defendants and their families and the victims, and the consequences for a prosecutor responsible are nonexistent. There are no consequences. People, as we found, go on to have perfectly successful careers after this."
Sapien joined ProPublica's editor-in-chief Steve Engelberg in our Storage Closet Studio to discuss why defense lawyers have been reluctant to file complaints against these prosecutors; how Claude Stuart, a former Queens assistant district attorney, has been one of the only prosecutors to be disciplined for misconduct in the past decade; and the interesting case of Tony Bennett, a man who was released from jail after his conviction was overturned due to misconduct and then admitted to ProPublica that he was guilty of murder.
For more on prosecutorial misconduct, read ProPublica's reports: Who Polices Prosecutors Who Abuse Their Authority? Usually Nobody and Lasting Damage: A Rogue Prosecutor's Final Case. You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes and Stitcher.