Tuesday, March 25, 2008


It can come as no great surprise that persons engaged in adulterous relationships, deny their existence. If those denials are made under oath, they constitute perjury. Whether or not such perjury warrants prosecution is a matter of discretion for prosecutors. However, once that discretion is exercised in favor of filing charges, prosecutors, in announcing the indictment, should not render their closing argument in a press conference.

Wayne County Prosecutor in announcing the indictment against Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said: "Our investigation has clearly shown that public dollars were used, people's lives were ruined, the justice system severely mocked and the public trust trampled on." My reaction: Save it for the courtroom!

In Denver last year, City Attorney Larry Manzanares committed suicide after being charged with stealing a state-owned computer, which the district attorney announced at a press conference contained pornographic material.

Unless prosecutors wish to ally fears by announcing the arrest of persons such as serial murderers or rapists, no legitimate purpose is served by press conferences outlining the evidence against the accused. In the Denver case, the district attorney defended himself by saying that he had treated Mr. Manzanares the same as everyone else. Therein lies the problem.

The Duke case should have taught all prosecutors the potential unfairness and dangers of such conduct. Present your evidence and summations in court, not in the media.