September 2012 - Pg 13–Book Review
If the arrested person is able to hire the best attorney – the chances of him spending time in prison are almost nil,” Hoy predicts. An attorney can obtain “experts in fire investigation, firearms investigation, ballistics, crime scene analysis, voice analysis, blood DNA analysis, forensic analysis of vehicles, computers, and any minute aspect of ... the case. All of those experts cost money,” she concludes.
In detailing the steps that follow an arrest through indictment or acquittal, Hoy gives a good discussion of grand jury issues. The grand jury is intended as a “safeguard against unwarranted prosecution,” she begins. Without a grand jury indictment, serious criminal charges cannot proceed to trial, she explains, but notes how far reality falls from this ideal. Since jurors lack specialized knowledge of criminal law, they “will do exactly as the district attorney tells them,” she submits.
Hoy’s next chapter excoriates the methods by which prosecutors argue cases, including theatrics, psychological manipulation of jurors, and salting their arguments with what she calls “incendiary words” known to inflame or frighten jurors. “Terms such as monster have no specific meaning except to plant a negative seed about the defendant into the minds of the jurors,” she illustrates. She also criticizes demonstrative performances that shock the jurors, calling them “well rehearsed cheap tricks.” If cases taken to court were supported by accurate investigations, solid physical evidence, and undertaken only to punish a person proven to have committed the offense, these shenanigans would be unnecessary, she stresses.
Hoy pleads for self-actualized jurors who are not susceptible to manipulation, suggesting that some prosecutors prefer poorly educated or easily swayed jurors. “The prosecutor has more control if the people he chooses for a jury don’t have enough education to know they can challenge him,” she opines. She encourages jurors to challenge unsubstantiated conclusions presented at trial. “If the prosecutor brings it up, he must be able to prove it,” she exclaims. Often, at the end of the day, a judge may ask if jurors have any questions. Use this time to demand proof of unsupported suppositions and clarification of inexact or technical language used. Be sufficiently thick-skinned to demand answers even if the prosecutor and judge snicker, she advises, adding, “Jurors have a responsibility to verify, verify, verify!”
Why aren’t District Attorneys sanctioned when they prosecute the wrong person? Hoy asks. “There are laws for peace officers who violate the civil rights of a person, but in most states there is no penalty that states a district attorney must be held accountable.” Toward the end of Falsely Accused, Hoy cites 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland recognizing the duty of prosecutors to disclose exculpatory evidence. In addition, she cites 42 U.S.C. § 1983 allowing citizens to sue local and state government officials for intentional violation of civil rights. Finally, she quotes a 2009 Supreme Court decision, Van de Kamp et al. v. Goldstein No 07-854, in which the Justices asserted that prosecutors do not enjoy absolute immunity when giving advice to police during a criminal investigation, when making statements to the press, or when the prosecutor is the complaining witness in support of a warrant application.
Can our courts become true seats of justice? Throughout Falsely Accused, Hoy repeatedly admonishes honest people in the criminal justice system to stand up to those who are not. Her call for police education is coupled with advice to citizens to learn about the law, too. Citizens and peace officers alike are constrained by the written law, but the citizen, instead of feeling oppressed by the law, should feel protected by it. She urges readers to monitor or sit on citizen review boards, or start one if none exists. Study your Constitutional and civil rights, and “make sure you know as much about arrest and search and seizure laws as police officers are supposed to know,” she advises.
Hoy closes Falsely Accused with a chapter identifying factors making an individual particularly vulnerable to false accusations by police. A solitary lifestyle poses particular concern. She suggests a number of precautions for those living alone to protect against false accusations, as well as simply increasing personal safety. In addition, Hoy gives advice about dealing with law enforcement during routine contacts, how to push for assistance from a police agency, and more.
Falsely Accused is only published in eBook format and can be purchased through a link at http://www.marianhoyconsultant.com/falsely_accused_order_book.htm . I fear readers will find a number of writing errors in it, and I strongly encourage reading Falsely Accused not for style but for the knowledge and underlying message.
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