Can the system curb prosecutorial abuses? (Part 4/4)

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After highlighting countless instances of prosecutorial misconduct in AZ over the past 11 years, here’s the final part of Michael Keifer’s series. Today he takes a detailed look at what can be done to curb future prosecutorial abuses.

You can keep up with all Michael’s tweets right here in his Twitter page.

The previous 3 parts in the series can be access by clicking the links below:

Prosecutorial misconduct alleged in half of capital cases (Part 1/4)
Prosecutors under scrutiny are seldom disciplined (Part 2/4)
Objections raised to Juan Martinez’s conduct in Jodi Arias trial (Part 3/4)

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Can the system curb prosecutorial abuses? (Part 4/4)
by Michael Kiefer:

“For three days, The Arizona Republic has examined prosecutor conduct and misconduct, citing cases in which prosecutors stepped over the line without suffering consequences to themselves or the convictions they win.

The question remains: What can be done about it?

Options already are in place.

When a prosecutor steps over the line, it’s up to the defense attorney to call it to the court’s attention, and it’s up to the judge to decide whether an offense has been committed and whether it affects the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

Yet, neither likes to do so.

Prosecutors are arguably the most powerful people in the courtroom: They file the charges and offer the plea agreements. They determine whether to seek the death penalty, and, given mandatory sentencing, predetermine the consequence of a guilty verdict.

Defense attorneys worry that if they cross a prosecutor, future clients could be treated more harshly the next time they face that prosecutor in court. Judges worry about prosecutors who use court rules to bypass those judges who rein them in. Both know that prosecutors are rarely sanctioned by the court or investigated by the State Bar of Arizona for ethical misconduct.

So overly aggressive prosecutors continue to have their way in the courtroom – as long as they win cases, experts say.

“It comes from this ‘end-justifies-the-means mentality,’’’ said Jon Sands, the federal public defender for Arizona. “We’ll do anything we can to bring someone to justice.

Part of the problem of reining in prosecutorial misconduct is defining it.

When a defense attorney does something wrong while defending a criminal client, it’s called “ineffective assistance of counsel.”

When a judge does something wrong, it’s called “judicial error.”

But when it’s the prosecutor who is under scrutiny, it’s called “prosecutorial misconduct.” It’s a fuzzy concept rooted more in constitutional law than in rules of professional conduct: A “term of art,” according to the American Bar Association.

“The vast, vast majority of prosecutorial misconduct claims go to inadvertent slip-ups rather than calculated interference with the wheels of justice,” said Judge Peter Swann of the Arizona Court of Appeals…….”


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Leave your thoughts & comments below.

Team Jodi

If you would like to help Jodi by way of a financial donation to the official JAA APPELLATE FUND, click the Team Jodi link below for further details. All donations go directly to the fund for assisting with the legal fees associated with appealing Jodi’s wrongful conviction. Thank you for your support!

We Are Team Jodi ---- And We Will Be Victorious!



    • Woooooo- Hooooo!!!!! Let’s see you make a ‘hat trick’ with a third ‘first’!!!
      (((((Ray))))) ♥

      p.s. I owe you a phone call, haven’t forgotten! 😉

      • (((((PANDORA♥))))) I’m lookin forward to talking 🙂 TTYL gotta get out the door for work we had to start early to day. 🙂

        Ray in H-burg Va.


        from my brief, and only, acquaintance this morning with the macneill trial, the prosecutor is presenting his case, his witnesses, and questioning them, in an orderly, and proper manner; no misbehavior; a fair trial for macneill.

        unlike the prosecutorial, judicial and police legal obscenity, and unfairness, that perneated every aspect of jodi’s trial

        plus all the other malefactors arraigned against jodi, the governor, the media, the mormon hierarchy, etc

        the macneill trial is in lunchtime recess

        • Today, I watched some more of the Utah Macneill murder trial, which some may consider viewing, because it is illustrative of a fair judicial environment.

          The entire courtroom milieu in Macneill’s trial was fair, and proper, unlike the extreme judicial aberration, or legal obscenity. we witnessed in Maricopa County’s trial of Jodi.

          Thus, this fair trial environment in Utah, as a benchmark, is indirectly strongly supportive of a mistrial in Jodi’s case.

          • Ha, Wes – I haven’t watched the trial but, after reading your post, out of curiosity I thought I’d see what HLN was saying about it (I caught some of their advance hype on the trial). Apparently a cheating husband who kills his wife to be with his mistress isn’t so interesting, there was no gripping courtroom drama because Martinez wasn’t there, so they thought they’d create some interest by creating the witch in this drama: the mistress.

            Some things never change.

        • CORRECTION
          substitute “arrayed” for “arraigned”

          “plus all the other malefactors arraigned against jodi, the governor, the media, the mormon hierarchy, etc”


          “plus all the other malefactors ARRAYED against jodi, the governor, the media, the mormon hierarchy, etc”

          my editor is really falling down on the job
          i’ll speak to him now.
          “please, review my commentsl more carefully before you post them !”

          hopefully, he’ll improve

  1. Fabulous writing by Michael Kiefer. I have read all 4 parts of his reporting. I understand perfectly what he has reported, but with all of this bad publicity concerning the prosecutorial misconduct, (not just Michael’s reporting) why has there not been a mistrial.

    For the Judges and the legal higher ups, to say that the conduct of these bullying and degrading comments and actions made by supposedly called professionals does not hamper the jury, is absolute B_________T!!!!!!!!! How can it not impact them in their decision??????

    The jury is (suppose) to be hanging onto every word. So if the prosecutor is badgering the witnesses and the witnesses are not answering the questions the way that the prosecutor wants……does the jury not see this as “false testimony or not willing to answer?”

    With all of the bad publicity that Jodie’s case has developed and brought to the attention of the judicial system of Arizona……why has this not impacted the case?????? It has obviously been an unfair, bias trial and not just by the prosecutors, but also by Judge Sherry, who allowed this type of conduct to go on in her court room.

    So……..why has a mistrial not been called?????????

    • I gather from a couple of the articles that the judges feel somewhat at the mercy of the prosecutors as well.

      No wonder Martinez is such a tyrant.

      Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  2. For years, the justice system has been crooked in all areas! A toss of a coin is the way of their thinking! I was involved with the justice system for about 12 years, deals are made over coffee, example: make sure this person gets dp, and we will settle with manslaughter on the other! No word of a lie, it’s like dealing with your insurance company. All lawyers are liars, they either work with their client or against, prosecutors are out for blood, pure personal gain and status, literally like another strike on their belt! Judges feed out of the prosecutors hand!!! We witnessed all this watching the JA trial!!! Witnesses are badgered, manipulated, lied to, tricked and slandered!!! Defendant is guilty until proven innocent not innocent until proven guilty. I was involved with family court, criminal, civil etc! All courts are beyond manipulation!!! If you have money, it may save you from sitting in a cell of 4 walls!!! As always Ms.Arias is in my thoughts!!!!

  3. Good morning to all!

    A recap on all four parts of Michael Kieffer’s interview:

    Until recently, we all have read and heard of cases and trials that were reeking of misconduct and should have been called for a mistrial. Yet, for (what I believe are) ‘behind the scenes’ reasons mostly everybody in the justice system turned a blind eye.

    Michael Kieffer had the guts to come forward with detailed and valid claims and documents outing prosecutorial misconduct, abuse, bullying and tampering with evidence.

    Serving justice means respecting the law, executing duties, upholding the constitution of the state and the Constitution of the United States of America. The obligation to do and seek justice is mandatory and prosecutors have the duty to represent the interests of all the people, which includes those accused of crimes as well as the victims. It is different from any other job of a lawyer. A prosecutor’s duty is to serve justice without being focused on zealously advocating for a particular client.

    Saying that, it is obvious, that martinez has abused his job as a prosecutor in many cases.

    Just looking at Jodi’s trial, martinez had repeatedly made improper statements about the defendant, has unfairly prejudiced the jury, badgered defense witnesses and has bullied his way around leaving no grounds for a fair trial. Shouldn’t he be stopped already? Isn’t this where the superior authorities should say ‘Enough is enough’?

    Michael Kieffer has opened a can of worms and martinez must be feeling the walls closing up on him… it’s about time he is held accountable for his actions!

    (((((Justice for Jodi))))) ♥

    • I’d like to see him taken down a notch or two, having Jodi’s case reversed might just do that. I hope so for her sake ((((((♥JODI♥))))))

      Ray in H-burg Va.

  4. Good morning cyber family! Happy Halloween!! Y’all have a great day it’s off to work for me :-/

    Ray in H-burg Va.

    • Back atcha! 😉

      Too bad Halloween isn’t a day off where I live. I wish I was at home now!
      Jodi is going to read Dracula on Halloween (one of my favorite novels, hehe).


  5. I have said before that this needs to go to the United States Supreme Court. Arizona hasn’t done anything to handle Martinez and his illegal ways. We have said it was Kangaroo Court back when I. Started watching. That was March. Enough is enough. Our Country has huge financial debt. Martinez has nothing justifiable to waste this type of money on. The United States and the President will quickly reverse this when the true story is explained. The United States is wasting money on Martinez’s diagnosis of Psychopath and Sociopath. That is all it comes down to. Very sad.

  6. Reading all 4 parts leaves me speechless and numb. Mostly numb of what the future holds for Jodi.

    Are we all here objective, equitable, passionate, romantic, visionairies? To actually believe that the justice wheels work just fine, without the existence of dirty prosecutors or judges without corrupted ways of implementing justice….
    Michael Kiefer is being attacked by haters out there as we speak. Maybe these same haters do not realize that NO, they would NOT want someone like Martinez prosecuting them or one of their loved ones if they were ever in trouble! Because it seems that whoever finds him/herself in Dirty Kermit’s way is doomed! It doesn’t matter if they are innocent or guilty, they are doomed.

    I just pray that Jodi’s fate will be merciful. That we will manage to make a difference.That more people will wake up eventually and stand up against this monster called ‘the immoral, broken and corrupt justice system.’

    • These haters will stop hating the moment Martinez gets around to prosecuting them!
      People tend to forget that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and Martinez will prosecute anybody (guilty-not guilty – it makes no difference to him), just to earn a pat on the back and a bigger salary.
      He puts his personal “success” (if you may call it that) above justice.
      I think we should spread awareness (thru twitter, facebook, and other kinds of social media) about what kind of scumbag Martinez really is, because beside haters there is a rather large segment of the undecided – those who don’t know Martinez yet. They must be educated about Martinez and how evil and conniving and unscrupulous he really is!

    • Maria,
      As soon as Jodi’s case is taken out of Arizona and put in bigger courts the smaller Arizona politics won’t matter. If Nurmi, her lawyer isn’t pushing this to the right places he should be fired. I don’t know what he is thinking. Personally, I would have jumped it Arizona a long time ago. There is so much evidence to prove mistrial plus illegal conduct by the defense attorney and judge.

  7. Another example of the mob mentality in this case…… Now the masses have turned on Michael K on Twitter accusing him of being a Jodi lover. I could think of worse things to be. Are the idiot masses so blind that if someone points out prosecutorial misconduct in MULTIPLE cases that all they can see is that he also brought up Kermits actions in the Arias trial? I was not a fan of some of his tweets during the trial and felt he was pretty pro prosecution on some days. I am again amazed at the level of stupidity that abounds in this trial. Hello everyone by the way 🙂 I am here lurking pretty much daily, just haven’t posted much.

    • I’m kind of inclined to think that Kiefer might be of the same mind as our recent visitor “James” – someone who is *concerned for the safety of Jodi’s conviction*. They both saw the crap Martinez pulled, they both saw Stephens lost control of her courtroom – they both think Jodi is guilty but they are concerned about how the verdict was reached.

      Anti-prosecution is not the same as pro-Jodi.

      • My point exactly Journee. He was certainly someone who believed Jodi was guilty during the trial and has said nothing to the contrary since. I am ok to agree to disagree with him. I just think it is ridiculous that the morons suddenly turn on him because they feel he slighted the Almighty Juan. Martinez actions and the blatant prosecutorial misconduct and grounds for mistrial being pointed out do not mean he has changed his opinion on the case and Jodi’s guilt or innocence. I simply am amazed at the level of ignorance and hate surrounding this trial. People are so blinded by hatred that they cannot even remember that even if you think someone is guilty they deserve a fair trial. Personally I think after what Jodi went through with Travis and then with his family and their lynch mob and now with the court and media….I think she deserves a nice remainder of her life on a sunny beach somewhere with a ton of art supplies, great books and a drink with a little umbrella in it.

  8. Hi all, haven’t been checking in for ages so don’t know if this has been discussed previously. Am reading 12 pg handwritten motion by Jodi about firing Nurmi as her counsel. She mentions Chaitanya Lay’s relationship w/ TA in the motion, and as Lay is the person who was in the car w/ Searcy when he got the phone call from Chris Hughes, I’m guessing Searcy might have got an earful from Lay about TA. Interesting reading…

    • Wrong person, but I understand the confusion. It was a different weird name: Charmaine Juban was in the car with Searcy.

      • Journee, you’re right about C. Juban being the person in the car. I recall Lay was the person TA wanted a 3-some with JA?

        I just finished reading the motion. I never suspected that the attorney client relationship between Nurmi and Jodi had deteriorated to this point. It was odd that he mentioned to the jury “9 out of 10 days”, to which Jodi weakly smiled in response. But this motion explains it all. I’m just astonished that for the most critical months of her trial their relationship was beyond repair.

  9. Hey Team Jodi! Glad to see the petitions are growing. Wonderful! Also, thankful to see everyone is holding steadfast to defending Jodi! I’ve been keeping up with all the posts and am touched by all of the love that is being channeled to our Jodi. Stay strong Jodi and feel our love. We support you and will keep our eyes focused on a victory for you. FREE JODI 🙂

    PS Journee tell your evil twin Happy Halloween 🙂

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