Federal Oversight of State Prosecutors?
A June 6 New York Times editorial calls for federal oversight of state prosecutors. This is a very interesting concept, however, I question: who is going to provide oversight of the federal prosecutors, who are guilty of the same abuses? The problems outlined in the editorial — withholding of exculpatory evidence, in addition to overzealous prosecutions for matters that are merely regulatory violations or violations of state law — are rampant in the federal system as well. Still, the editorial suggests, in the case of state prosecutors:
What would make good sense is to have the federal government step in to monitor some of the worst actors, increasing the chance of catching misconduct before it ruins peoples’ lives. The Justice Department is already authorized to do this by a 1994 federal law prohibiting any “pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement officers” that deprives a person of legal or constitutional rights.
Perhaps the fox will be guarding the henhouse!
Read the full editorial in the New York Times: "To Stop Bad Prosecutors, Call the Feds."