Monday, April 02, 2007

FBI Policy KO's One US Attorney

A bit involved, but here's the story:

Paul K. Charlton, the United States attorney in Arizona, was ousted after spending months protesting a Federal Bureau of Investigation policy that, for practical purposes, forbids the taping of almost all confessions, in stark contrast to the practice of many local law enforcement agencies in Arizona and other locations across the country.

Interesting. Recall that Screechin'Shirley's Court has required audio- or video-tape of interrogations of juveniles.

The FBI plays by its own rules, and in at least a couple of cases, that causes problems:

In the trial of Terry Nichols for the Oklahoma City bombing, the failure to tape Terry Nichols' interrogation caused the jury to openly question the policy, and may have contributed to their decision to give Nichols consecutive life sentences rather than the death penalty. In the plea-bargain case that Charlton cites, a Native American man attempted to kill his girlfriend. The FBI got a confession, but the defense raised objections based on his potential intoxication and questioned his ability to understand English. A taped interrogation, Charlton claims, would have answered both questions. Since he had none, and since the victim would not cooperate and had a history of suicide attempts, Charlton had to get a plea bargain.

On the edge of 'jury nullification.'

HT: Captain's Quarters

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