Imagine that the Supreme Court issued a ridiculous ruling that the media refused to rationally report for 35 years.
Imagine that the ruling allowed all Los Angeles’ sports teams wild advantages: a tenth player on the baseball field and four strikes for their hitters; no personal fouls against their basketball players, the only ones in the league that can be over 6’ tall; two additional time-outs in football, and 11 points for each touchdown. Imagine this made worse by a subsequent ruling that all L.A. games were home games, and video replays only counted if they were in L.A.’s favor.
The judicial equivalent of this scenario began with Imbler v Pachtman in 1976, throwing out equal justice like it was just so much trash.
Imbler made it illegal to prosecute prosecutors for willful misconduct. They can “lose” or misrepresent or withhold evidence that exonerates the defendant, coach jailhouse informant’s false testimony and decline to prosecute heinous current and subsequent crimes, threaten witnesses to get them to lie on the stand. Prosecutors can do anything they please, and the worst they’ll face is fines, suspension and/or disbarment when the Bar decides it’s time, once again, to pretend they’re policing prosecutors, per Imbler.
Then came Van de Kamp v Goldstein to worsen Imbler, giving prosecutors’ supervisors the same immunity. Florida calls these supervisors State Attorneys; states that don’t care to generate confusion call them District Attorneys.
Congress was obliged to override immunities; the IRS was obliged to deny the Bar a tax exemption for pretending to protect the public and its members equally; the FBI was obliged to investigate public misconduct that affected trial outcomes; the media was obliged to maintain the public trust by rational reporting.
Innocents inside guarantees mayhem outside, and boy, do we have innocents inside; thousands of them. Thank a reporter.
Update: In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed in Connick v Thompson that they want prosecutors and their supervisors to retain absolute immunity from prosecution for deliberate misconduct. Justice Ginsburg authored the dissent. It was a beaut.