Monday, July 19, 2010

Prosecutor drops charges amid allegations of misconduct...

Prosecutorial misconduct?  No, we're not talking about the prosecutor from the Michelle Spence-Jones case or any of the other cases that we've discussed to date, we're referring to the prosecutor from a murder case in Brooklyn, New York, Michael F. Vecchione.  Take a look at the New York Times story here, although the cases are different, the behavior of the prosecutor is eerily similar to one of the prosecutors we've been talking about on our blog, Assistant State Attorney Bill Kostrzewski.  Here are some excerpts from the article...
"the district attorney’s office had avoided a hearing that would have offered greater transparency into the case’s “troubling history.”"
Tell me about it!  We were all salivating at the chance to see prosecutor Kostrzewski fumble his way through a trial!
“a prosecutor with a passion for justice who had spent most of his life trying to make sure bad things happened to bad people.”  
Nothing wrong with that.  What more can you ask for than a prosecutor that's dedicated to doing his job and putting people behind bars?  (FYI Mr. Kostrzewski, doling out probation doesn't count as "doing your job").
"But he has also been dogged by allegations of impropriety from defense lawyers, and former colleagues who say his eye for the spotlight and willingness to cut corners to win convictions have caused some cases to fall apart..."
This is where it goes wrong, once a crusading prosecutor gets that "win by any  means necessary" attitude, it's all over.
"...failing to turn over exculpatory evidence to the defense, knowingly eliciting inaccurate testimony and making false statements."
Constitutional rights?  PFFT!  
“I was looking forward to confronting him with his affidavit and his statements at the trial and comparing those statements to the truth,” he said. “Obviously in the final analysis, the district attorney did not want to expose Mr. Vecchione to cross-examination.”
Same here, even with ASA Kostrzewski taken off the Bernardo Barrera Mortgage fraud case, we still had a chance of seeing him grilled on the stand by the defense in court.  Don't fret though, I suspect we'll get our day in the sun regardless...
“It is important that the D.A.’s office examine what went wrong and hold individual prosecutors accountable for any misconduct,” she said. “Transparency and accountability are essential.”
This is of the utmost importance.  If you don't deal with a prosecutor who can no longer distinguish between right or wrong, a good lawyer that's gone rogue who has peoples lives in his hands, you can only imagine what the consequences will be, more lives ruined, more reputations destroyed, etc...
“Everyone pushes the envelope to some degree; everyone looks for strategic advantage,” Mr. Barket said. “That’s fine. But you have to play by the rules. What I’ve not seen is someone who disregards the rules so flagrantly. He looks at the rules as obstacles.” 
Exactly, just like the cops who see the Constitution as an obstacle to doing their job, a prosecutor who's hell bent on convicting people no matter what is no different.
“I don’t understand how he can continue to prosecute criminal cases,”
He shouldn't be.  Once again we must deffer to former Plantation Police Chief Larry Massey...
"If you lie, you die, If you are willing to lie to me over this, what else are you willing to lie about? His integrity was shot.  In the interest of the community I separated him from service."
Has Mr. Kostrzewski lied to us throughout the course of the Bernardo Barrera mortgage fraud case?  He's lied to the court, he's lied to witnesses, he's lied to the defense attorneys, just to name a few.  Here's our favorite example, November 3, 2009 Mr. Kostrzewski claims he's come down with swine flu and cancels an important deposition that was scheduled for November 4th then he's back to work on November 5th!  Is that the most incredible case of swine flu or WHAT?!

At the very least the Brooklyn District Attorneys office should fire this $hitbag prosecutor then fully investigate these allegations of misconduct and hopefully prosecute this S.O.B. to the fullest extent of the law.  Whether it's a DA from Brooklyn or an ASA from Miami, once they break the law to achieve a conviction by any means necessary, they should be fired and then referred to the Bar for disciplinary action.  Once they cross the line, they are as much of a criminal as the people they're prosecuting.  

Welcome back from vacation Mr. Kostrzewski, I hope you have a nice day at the office...

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