March 6, 2015

HONESTLY, THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR SHOULD CARRY THE DEATH PENALTY: California Prosecutor Falsifies Transcript of Confession; California Attorney General Kamala Harris Defends.

Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski declared months ago in a much-quoted opinion that there is “an epidemic of Brady violations abroad in the land.” And yet, prosecutors continue to deny there’s a problem. Indeed, the Department of Justice gets outright indignant at the suggestion, and so do many state court prosecutors. They bristle at the very mention of the possibility.

But here’s another doozy: The People (of California) v. Efrain Velasco-Palacios. In this unpublished opinion from the Fifth Appellate District, the California Court of Appeal reveals that state prosecutors and California Attorney General Kamala Harris continue to be part of the problem. Kern County prosecutor Robert Murray committed “outrageous government misconduct.” Ms. Harris and her staff defended the indefensible—California State prosecutor Murray flat out falsified a transcript of a defendant’s confession.

Kern County prosecutor Robert Murray added two lines of transcript to “evidence” that the defendant confessed to an even more egregious offense than that with which he had been charged—the already hideous offense of molesting a child. With the two sentences that state’s attorney Murray perjuriously added, Murray was able to threaten charges that carried a term of life in prison.

Capitalizing to the maximum on his outright fabrication, state’s attorney Robert Murray committed his own crime against the defendant at the crucial time when defense counsel was consulting with the defendant on a possible plea.

Prosecutor Murray had ample time and opportunity to correct his lies and his falsification of the transcript, but instead, he let it go until defense counsel had encouraged his client to plead guilty based on this fabricated evidence. Not until after defense counsel requested the original tape recording from which the transcript was made did Mr. Murray admit that he had added the most incriminating statements to the transcript.

Disgraceful. But wait, there’s more: “Undaunted by the criminal conduct of a state prosecutor, or the district court’s opinion, Ms. Harris appealed the decision dismissing the indictment. According to the California Attorney General, only abject physical brutality would warrant a finding of prosecutorial misconduct and the dismissal of an indictment. Fortunately for all of us—and the Constitution—she lost again.”

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