Former Prosecutor Disbarred for Innocent Man on Death Row

To many people, and especially those working toward the abolition of the death penalty in the United States, the application of capital punishment in the state of Texas represents a cause for serious concern. While proponents of the death penalty continue to point to the alleged deterrent factor, the danger of condemning the wrong person is one that is certainly very real. This week, a disciplinary committee upheld the disbarment of former prosecutor over actions that led to an innocent man spending more than a decade waiting to die for a crime he did not commit.

The criminal defendant at the center of the case was convicted and sent to death row for the deaths of six people in 1992. His conviction was overturned in 2006, but it took an additional four years to secure his release from prison, when a special prosecutor finally took a closer look at his case, declaring him to be innocent and deserving of freedom.

According to court documents, the prosecutor in the original trial not only withheld evidence that may have exonerated the defendant, but allowed—and even encouraged—witnesses to provide demonstrably false testimony. The prosecutor left his post as a county district attorney in 2000, and the State Bar revoked his law license last summer following an extensive investigation. The Board of Disciplinary Appeals recently upheld the disbarment, effectively ending the former prosecutor’s career.

Wrongful Convictions

In 2011, Illinois became the 15th to completely abolish capital punishment. Eliminating the death penalty, of course, does not end the possibility of wrongfully convicting a defendant. In fact, some would argue that the increased scrutiny inherent to capital cases makes wrongful convictions statistically more likely for less serious crimes.

No matter what the charge may be, there is nothing minor about a false accusation or a wrongful conviction. The penalties for any crime are extremely serious, obviously, but are all the worse if the defendant did not actually commit the offense for which he or she is being punished. That is why it is so important to enlist the assistance of a defense attorney who understands the law and how to protect your rights.

If you have been falsely accused of any type of criminal activity, there is no time to lose. Contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense lawyer right away. Attorney Jack L. Zaremba is a former prosecutor who understands the tactics and techniques that district attorneys and others will use to secure a conviction. He is ready to put that knowledge and skill to work on your behalf. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free initial consultation.

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