The Unfair Judicial System
The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees everyone the right to a public trial without unnecessary delay, the right to a lawyer, the right to an impartial jury and the right to confront your accusers.
To the average American Citizen, if asked, they would all agree that the United States Judicial system is a fair and just system.
However, to anyone that has worked or has been involved in the Judicial System they know that this is not the truth.
Myself having worked thirty-two years in Law Enforcement in Idaho believed that the system was fair and equal for everyone.
Now that I have had the experience to work on the defense side for over ten years, I have found that in fact the Judicial System is a very unfair system.
One of the most sacred principles in the American Justice System is that one is innocent until proven guilty.
However, repeatedly I have been involved in cases where Law Enforcement in Idaho has failed to conduct complete and thorough investigation prior to arresting and charging an individual. They fail to follow up with any type of investigation or interviews. They take a statement from an alleged victim, then make the arrest and send the person to jail.
Once an individual is arrested and if they are lucky enough to be exonerated of the charges they still must work to have arrest removed from their record.
The State side of the Judicial System has the advantage of having an investigative agency and/or agencies working for it. By this I mean the investigators involved in the actual investigation are local law enforcement, city police departments, sheriff’s offices and/or the state investigative agencies.
I am currently assisting on an Idaho major case where there are five different Law Enforcement Agencies plus the Federal Bureau of Investigations assisting the State Prosecutor.
The State has several Forensic laboratories that they can use, to include the Federal Bureau of Investigations Forensic Laboratory. The State has the Rocky Mountain Information Network (RMIN) which can assist with critical analytical and investigative support. And if needed has access to numerous other expert government witnesses.
With all the above assistance, you would think that the State Judicial side would conduct a complete and through investigation.
I am currently assisting with a sexual assault case where the victim, during her interview, stated that this wasn’t her first time to be sexually assaulted.
It should have been the States responsibility to follow up on this statement. However, they chose not to as it may hurt the state’s case if it is found that she had reported an assault in the past and it was unfounded and or could not be proven.
Idaho Rule 3.8 (d) Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor: Make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense, and in connection with sentencing disclose to the defense and to the tribunal all unprivileged mitigating information known to the prosecutor, except when the prosecutor is relived of this responsibility by a protective order of the tribunal;
In reference to my reviewed assault case above the State elected not to investigate this statement therefore it has no knowledge of it.
During our investigation, I found that the alleging victim has made this same statement several times to several different individuals and friends of hers over the past year.
I am now tasked of trying to obtain the information from an institution that claim they have the right to protect the privacy of this individual.
Being “non-law enforcement” the institutions are not as willing to speak with me and or help me obtain the information requested to verify are substantiate the facts.
A law enforcement agency only has to contact the local law enforcement agency and request assistance in the follow up of this information. As a defense investigator, the only resource for the client and/or accused party is to contact another private investigative agency hopefully in the same local area and at an added expense to the client in an attempt to obtain this information.
Now when it comes to the expenses of a defense investigator, if the client is indigent (meaning he can’t afford to pay for his attorney and investigator) the county is reasonable to provide this assistance.
Not always will the county allow the attorney the assistance of an investigator. And if the attorney is allowed the funding for an investigator the amount is not always adequate for the investigator and or the time needed for a complete and through investigation.
Just last year I was contacted by a conflict public defender in Canyon County Idaho and asked to provide my fees for service and my Curriculum Vitae for assistance in an attempted murder case. My background consists of numerous hours of training and experience in major crime investigations, crime scene re-construction, and blood spatter. Prior to retiring I was a Certified POST Training Expert in those fields among others. I carried that Certified POST training several years after retiring, training new police recruits. I have testified as an expert in several court trials. All of this was provided to this attorney along with my fee to be provided to the court.
This attorney explained to me the court wanted three referrals to choose from. The other two referrals were both patrol officers. One had been fired from the agency he was working for and the other left after only a few years of service never advancing out of the patrol division.
I did not get the opportunity to assist on this case. I am sure that it was because my fee was higher than what the other two investigators submitted.
Anyone that has worked in Law Enforcement long enough will tell you that there is a big difference between Patrol, and investigations.
I often compare it to taking to your car to the speedy lub service to have a major engine overhaul. Would you really want someone that has limited experience and training on vehicles to preform major engine work? Or would you prefer someone that has the training, experience, and background to do the work?
In closing, as you can see the American Judicial System is not always a fair and just system. Often the innocent are sent to prison for crimes they have not committed only because the system failed to protect them.