Today: 22.09.2018
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Cuomo signs bill creating panel to probe prosecutor misconduct.

New York will become the first state in the nation to establish a panel to probe accusations of prosecutorial misconduct under a controversial bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Cuomo. But Cuomo approved the law only after the sponsors agreed to pass an amendment next year to address legal problems with the measure. The...
Time: 21:16     Date: 20.08.2018
Metro News: Cuomo signs bill creating panel to probe prosecutor misconduct. NY Post 24 - US News

But Cuomo approved the law only after the sponsors agreed to pass an amendment next year to address legal problems with the measure.

The legislation was backed by social justice advocates, but opposed by district attorneys who worried that defendants would try to smear prosecutors with bogus charges.

The commission will be modeled after an existing panel that oversees judicial misconduct.

New York City also has a civilian complaint review board that reviews claims of police misconduct.

Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a third term, said the law was overdue.

“Our criminal justice system must fairly convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent,” Cuomo said. “When any prosecutor consciously disregards that fundamental duty, communities suffer and lose faith in the system, and they must have a forum to be heard and seek justice.”

The bill easily passed both houses of the Legislature in June. Even the law and order GOP-controlled Senate approved it 44-12.

“There have been many cases of individuals who’ve been wrongfully convicted and who’ve served jail time because of the misconduct of some prosecutors. Despite the good work of most prosecutors, there must be a remedy against those who violate the law.,” said Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse), the bill’s chief sponsor.

Assembly sponsor Nick Perry (D-Brooklyn) applauded the approval of the “historic” law following a 10-year struggle.

But Cuomo said his signature on the bill was contingent on an amendment next year to fix provisions that run afoul of the state Constitution.

The Constitution bars a sitting judge from serving on such a commission — and the bill would have allowed the chief judge to sit on the panel. As part of the separation of powers, the Constitution also prohibits the majority of commission members from being appointed by the legislature.

More important that the make-up of the panel, the governor, in a nod to prosecutors, complained the bill “would make the commission readily available to anyone intent to on disrupting a criminal case.”

“This potential for abuse would be amplified by the fact that this bill would make public all files provided by a prosecutor to the commission, even while an active investigation is underway, the potential exposure to victims, witness, and a prosecutor’s case would be immeasurable. This intrusion into active investigations would undermine, rather than support, our criminal justice system,” Cuomo said.

“Despite these concerns, the importance of the overarching goal of the bill cannot be overstated and must not be ignored.”

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