New York’s system of attorney oversight is ill-equipped or unwilling to identify, punish and deter prosecutors who abuse their authority.
A ProPublica analysis of more than a decade’s worth of state and federal court rulings found more than two dozen instances in which judges explicitly concluded that city prosecutors had committed harmful misconduct. In each instance, these abuses were sufficient to prompt courts to throw out convictions.
Yet the same appellate courts did not routinely refer prosecutors for investigation by the state disciplinary committees charged with policing lawyers. Disciplinary committees, an arm of the appellate courts, almost never took serious action against prosecutors. None of the prosecutors who oversaw cases reversed based on misconduct were disbarred, suspended, or censured except for Stuart. (Stuart declined repeated requests for an interview for this story.)
Nor were any but Stuart punished by their superiors in the city’s district attorney offices. In fact, personnel records obtained by ProPublica show, several received promotions and raises soon after courts cited them for abuses…