TRANSPARENCY IS NEEDED
Citizen monitoring of government prosecution is necessary because prosecution of the insignificant by the mighty cannot ever be fair. When all power, might and force is on one side, as it always is in the federal system, an unfair outcome is almost assured unless there is oversight.
In fact, the government’s prosecution department has accumulated so much power, it can simply point to someone and chances are they are on their way to jail.
To change things will require transparency. The criminal process must be fully open if the public is to have confidence in it. Many problems in the federal criminal justice system would disappear if there were openness.
The lack of openness means that even after a conviction and appeals, the federal veil of secrecy is firmly kept in place. Prosecutors say that secrecy is necessary to keep hard-won convictions from being overturned on technicalities. If a conviction comes by illegally or immorally, the public should be entitled to know. Then, if warranted, convictions should be overturned. Federal prosecutors should not be able to take away one’s freedom by hiding prosecutorial abuse. Shouldn’t something as important as freedom be subject to public scrutiny?
The problem we face is there is no interest group to challenge the federal prosecutorial system and point out when they are wrong. Without a truly informed public, federal prosecutors can badger Congress unopposed to pass laws that give them an advantage in prosecuting citizens. The tea party movement proved that informed citizen participation can bring dramatic changes. Informing and educating the public on these issues would assure change to a fairer and more moral federal criminal system.
Former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska was well known, well thought of, and a hero to most people in Alaska. Federal prosecutors went after him and with their power obtained a conviction. Only after the verdict did it become known that the conviction was illegally and unfairly obtained. The trial judge himself reversed the conviction. In the meantime Sen. Stevens lost his bid for reelection. Even though the conviction was reversed, there was no way to restore the senator to his seat, or make up for such treachery after such a long life of honest public service.