Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry
314-499-1424

Prosecutorial fairness: why a defense attorney insists upon it

No reasonable person in Missouri or anywhere else across the country wants to engage in any type of contest where applicable processes -- the rules of the game, if you will -- are stacked in favor of the other side.

What's the point? When an opponent has a one-sided and material advantage, you lose.

Fundamental unfairness puts a black mark on something as simple as a game of checkers.

Given that, imagine the stakes for any individual involved in a criminal justice matter -- such as a drug case, sex crime or other matter -- who has been targeted by authorities engaging in unlawful conduct to bypass legal requirements and extract an advantage.

Following is a real-life example of that in the form of a news story that we believe underscores in a truly frightening way how precarious justice can be when government actors already possessed of considerable power and resources abuse their position.

Here's what the New York Times centrally points out in a recent article featuring the New Orleans Attorney General's Office: For nearly two decades, prosecutors in that office have been sending fake subpoenas to reluctant witnesses in various cases that demand their appearance and cooperation in providing testimony.

Reportedly, those individuals have routinely believed the documents to be legitimate and that failure to abide by their stated requirements will subject them to serious criminal penalties.

In fact, no judge has even weighed in on the official-looking documents over the years, and they command no legal authority.

The details of that long-perpetuated ruse now centrally feature in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed last week by multiple plaintiffs who say they were unlawfully coerced into cooperating with authorities.

Although the city's DA vows to vigorously contest the allegations in court, he concedes at the same time that his office's use of fraudulent documents "was improper."

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Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry

120 South Central Avenue
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Saint Louis, MO 63105

Phone: 314-499-1424
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