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Wed Feb 5, 2020, 01:23 PM

SHOULD A PROSECUTOR'S IMMUNITY COVER FAKING DOCUMENTS TO LOCK UP WITNESSES?

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court will consider the case of a prosecutor accused of faking official documents to coerce crime victims and witnesses—under threat of incarceration—to cooperate with his office’s investigations. According to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Civil Rights Corps, longtime Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro did so for years with impunity.

Louisiana law allows prosecutors, with a judge’s permission, to subpoena people for questioning outside the usual courtroom setting. But the complaint accuses Cannizzaro’s office of creating its own documents, sometimes affixed with the office’s official seal, to elicit witnesses’ cooperation—thereby bypassing the judicial system altogether. “A FINE AND IMPRISONMENT MAY BE IMPOSED FOR FAILURE TO OBEY THIS NOTICE,” one template read.

And, the lawsuit alleges, Cannizzaro’s office sometimes followed through on this threat. Prosecutors would ask courts to issue “material witness” arrest warrants, swearing to judges that the witnesses had failed to obey a valid subpoena—not a fraudulent one doctored to cow them into submission.

These warrants allow prosecutors to ensure that critical witnesses show up in court to testify in a given case—especially people they fear might skip town altogether. Cannizzaro has made liberal use of this tool during his tenure, seeking more than 150 material arrest warrants over an eight-year period, according to a 2018 analysis conducted by a team at Yale Law School.

Some of these warrants were used to lock up the victims of crimes. In 2014, Renata Singleton was the victim in a domestic violence incident involving her then-boyfriend. A mother of three, she told prosecutors she could not afford to take time off from work in order to pursue the charges against him, according to the complaint. She said she had ended the relationship and simply wanted to move on.

https://theappeal.org/leon-cannizzaro-subpoenas-fifth-circuit-court/

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Reply SHOULD A PROSECUTOR'S IMMUNITY COVER FAKING DOCUMENTS TO LOCK UP WITNESSES? (Original post)
douglas9 Feb 2020 OP
SWBTATTReg Feb 2020 #1
rampartc Feb 2020 #2
3Hotdogs Feb 2020 #3
rampartc Feb 2020 #4

Response to douglas9 (Original post)

Wed Feb 5, 2020, 02:09 PM

1. Should be thrown the book ... police officers who break the law face the full blunt of the law...

when they are caught w/ the 'goodies' doing something illegal. Prosecutors in their zeal to prepare for future office obviously have been tempted too much by using the power of their office. They must pay the price for doing so fraudulently.

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Response to douglas9 (Original post)

Wed Feb 5, 2020, 05:22 PM

2. no, the "subpoenas" do not have force of law and should not so represent

how much trouble is it to get a real subpoena?

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Response to rampartc (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 6, 2020, 09:58 AM

3. A lot of trouble, if the basis of the request for subpoena is invalid.

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Response to 3Hotdogs (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 6, 2020, 10:35 AM

4. that could be a problem

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