April 17, 2013 7:58:54 PM by
On March 20 former KPMG partner Scott London admitted to passing confidential inside information to his friend Bryan Shaw, who reportedly traded on that information, making over a million dollars. In my most recent “Injustice Department” column for Forbes.com, co-authored with my research assistants Juliana DeVries and Zachary Bloom, I explain how appalling violations of trust are nothing new to the KPMG leadership, considering their long-forgotten devil’s deal with the U.S. Department of Justice back in 2004, whereby the firm “cooperated” with the government and threw its employees and clients under the bus. A culture of betrayal is made almost inevitable by the prosecutorial tactics of the DOJ, which turn colleague against colleague and company against employee on the basis of not-always-truthful testimony.
You canfind the column here, on my "Injustice Department" blog.
February 28, 2013 7:29:09 PM by
In a bizarre mid-February opinion in the case of Florida v. Clayton Harris, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a drug-sniffing dog’s credentials—rather than his field accuracy—are what matter in determining whether the dog’s tail-wagging “alert” creates sufficient probable cause for police to conduct a search without a warrant. This elevation of credentials over demonstrated skill should come as no surprise: Of the nine Supreme Court justices, five were full-time academics at some point before joining the Court, three were adjunct professors and only one earned his stripes exclusively in the real world. In my most recent piece for Forbes.com, I explain how the Florida v. Clayton Harris ruling is an invasion of citizens’ privacy rights that nevertheless united a divided Court based on the justices’ shared reverence for impressive curriculum vitae.
The column after the jump...
January 02, 2013 10:06:35 PM by
Lord Conrad Black and James “Whitey” Bulger are vastly different men. But both federal prosecutions raise similar fundamental questions about the propriety of certain prosecutorial tactics that interfere with a defendant’s constitutional right to mount an adequate defense. In my most recent “Injustice Department” column for Forbes.com, I explain how these tactics virtually assure convictions, regardless of guilt or the niceties of “due process of law.” Yet these unconstitutional techniques are the rule, not the exception, when the Department of Justice really wants to win a case without the defendant putting up much of a fight.
The column after the jump...
October 21, 2012 11:16:58 PM by
Just last month, the Wilmington, NC, federal district court held a long-awaited and hard-fought-for evidentiary hearing in the case of Dr. Jeffrey R. MacDonald. In 1979 Dr. MacDonald was convicted of murdering his daughters and pregnant wife, and he has spent the last 33 years in federal prison, never wavering from his claim of innocence. Over the years, an enormous aggregation of previously unavailable (in large measure because it was suppressed) evidence has corroborated MacDonald’s account of the night of the murders: that four drugged-out intruders, three men and one woman, invaded his home, beat him unconscious, and murdered his family.
The vast trove of evidence uncovered post-conviction has emerged mainly through repeated court filings by MacDonald’s lawyers over the years, including the most recent filing of DNA evidence that convinced the notoriously conservative Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to order a lower court to convene an evidentiary hearing to take further evidence and to then consider the full picture, including all of the accumulated evidence. Now, importantly, the evidence is bolstered by documentary filmmaker Errol Morris’s new book, A Wilderness of Error, which was released on September 4. The book is an impressive feat, cataloguing the decades of lies, cover-ups, false narratives and grave misfortunes and outrages that have characterized the MacDonald saga. It raises serious doubts about the fairness of MacDonald’s trial and leaves little doubt about his innocence. It is well worth a read, as is its accompanying website, which serves as an invaluable repository for the enormous amount of evidence contained within the text.
A Wilderness of Error chronicles not just a human tragedy, but a chilling case that puts front-and-center pivotal questions about the future of the writ of habeas corpus—the ancient procedural device for revisiting otherwise final convictions. Until now, MacDonald’s repeated attempts to have courts look anew at his conviction have come to naught, largely due to procedural factors that favor “finality” over truth and accuracy. In my most recent column for Forbes.com, I argue that this case should force the courts to condemn to history’s scrap heap these Byzantine obstacles to justice that keep the wrongly convicted in prison.
Those of you who know me understand how strongly I feel about this mind-bogglingly outrageous miscarriage of justice. I am thankful that Errol Morris, who has his choice of absolutely any topic on which to do a book or make a documentary movie, has chosen to write on the MacDonald case.