Yin and Yang
First there's this story:
The Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, had a problem. The murder convictions of two men in one of his office's big cases -- the 1990 shooting of a bouncer outside the Palladium nightclub -- had been called into question by a stream of new evidence.
So the office decided on a re-examination, led by a 21-year veteran assistant, Daniel L. Bibb.
Mr. Bibb spent nearly two years reinvestigating the killing and reported back: He believed that the two imprisoned men were not guilty, and that their convictions should be dropped. Yet top officials told him, he said, to go into a court hearing and defend the case anyway. He did, and in 2005 he lost.
But in a recent interview, Mr. Bibb made a startling admission: He threw the case. Unwilling to do what his bosses ordered, he said, he deliberately helped the other side win.
He tracked down hard-to-find or reluctant witnesses who pointed to other suspects and prepared them to testify for the defense. He talked strategy with defense lawyers. And when they veered from his coaching, he cornered them in the hallway and corrected them.
"I did the best I could," he said. "To lose."
Now, I might surprise some people here, but I think what the prosecutor did was wrong, both morally and ethically. If he felt that the defendants were innocent, he should have refused to take the case, resigning if necessary, making a public issue of it if he felt like it. But to intentionally throw the case, to say nothing of secretly working with the other side, was wrong, and was an act of moral cowardice.
But then again, there's this story:
It's been just about a year since Caribou County Prosecutor Criss James was charged with dismissing charges in exchange for money. Thursday, James pled guilty to an agreement made between the State and Defense.
The State reduced the charged from seven felony counts to one misdemeanor of violation of public office for personal gain.
The State said there was indisputable evidence against him.
"Checks went from Criss James' office to his hands to his personal account," said Justin Whatcott, Deputy Attorney General.
Judge Bush sentenced James to 90 days in county jail, a sentence which will be suspended and two years probation unsupervised along with 150 hours of community service.
Criss James will continue serving as Prosecuting Attorney until his term finishes in January.
And the guy gets to keep his job!