A legal minefield that should embarrass every lawyer, prosecutor and judge in America

Man wrongly accused of rape finally released from prison, by Ashe Schow at The Washington Examiner.

This is a case packed with vicious lies, prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective defense counsel, and corruption to a point of making anyone with a sense of justice and fairness want to scream. Every courthouse in America should stop calling itself a “justice Center” and take down all the signs until this sort of thing stops.

This case involves a completely innocent man, Mark Weiner, stepping into a legal minefield by trying to do a good deed.

A young women used the situation to falsely accuse him of rape in order to get sympathy from her boyfriend. The prosecutor had evidence of the man’s innocence (which had been uncovered by the police), but refused to allow the police to testify to that evidence, and failed to turn that exculpatory evidence over to the defense as required under the Brady rule. The man’s defense counsel failed to offer evidence at trial which he had in his possession and that tended to prove the man’s innocence. Finally, the judge who vacated the man’s sentence after he had served 2.5 years of an 8-year sentence did so not on the basis of a mountain of evidence showing his wrongful conviction but rather because the prosecutor argued the woman who falsely accused him was later convicted of selling cocaine and that affected her credibility. He is out of prison but his reputation remains damaged by the false accusation of rape. He has not been able to clear his name and his arrest for rape is part of his permanent record.

Ashe Schow, commenting on a story by Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick:

Lithwick argues that anyone who suggests Weiner’s release proves “the system works” is wrong.

“Mark Weiner’s freedom did not come about this week because the system worked. It came about because the system protected the system from abject embarrassment,” Lithwick wrote. “That isn’t justice. That’s just sad.”

It certainly isn’t justice, and Mark Weiner’s story is not a one-off. It’s part of a pattern. Too many courthouses in America are not “justice centers” at all. They are legal minefields.

Read the whole sordid story in the excellent article by Ashe Schow linked at the top.

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