Accountability

Why don’t paid experts who give false testimony for the prosecution go to jail?

Jonathan Turley gives a chilling recitation about the history of false testimony by expert witnesses for the prosecution. It wasn’t relevant to his argument, but he could have given an equally impressive account of perjury by police and informants.

The really frightening thing is that the perpetrators of false testimony, especially for the prosecution, almost never go to jail themselves. No surprise that prosecutors don’t want to pick on their own witnesses. If anything were going to be done about the problem, the courts would have to do it. But with state criminal court judges largely drawn from the ranks of prosecutors, there’s not much hope for that either. It ought to be surprising that police and prosecutors are so willing to cheat, but the fact is clear.

Remember this the next time your favorite law professor tells you about the glories of the adversarial system.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com