Another Lying Prosecutor

We recently discussed a lying prosecutor who lied under oath in a murder case and escaped any consequences – no sanctions, no investigation, no bar complaints, nothing.  Here we have another lying prosecutor named Robert Murray (Kern County Prosecutor) who actually “inserted a false confession into a transcript of defendant’s police interrogation” so that he could charge the defendant with a more serious crime that carried the potential for life in prison. The trial court found out about this unbelievable misconduct before trial and  “granted defendant’s motion to dismiss on the basis of outrageous government misconduct.” The amazing thing here is the California Attorney General, Kamala Harris,  appealed the dismissal!! You can read the entire appellate opinion here, but I’ll share some highlights now.

The defendant spoke Spanish, and the interrogation took place in Spanish.  The recording of the interrogation was eventually translated into English. The lying prosecutor, Robert Murray, added two fabricated lines to his translation:  “‘[DETECTIVE]: You’re so guilty you child molester. [DEFENDANT]: I know. I’m just glad she’s not pregnant like her mother.'” The defendant’s attorney had also had a translation of the interrogation made, and these lines were absent.  The defendant’s attorney eventually confronted lying prosecutor Robert Murray about the additional lines, and Murray admitted to fabricating them.  Defendant then filed a motion to dismiss alleging “outrageous and prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct.”  That lying prosecutor Murray filed a response asserting that the “lines were added ‘in jest’ and defendant had not been prejudiced by the fabrication.”

The trial court granted the motion to dismiss, finding Murray’s conduct was “egregious, outrageous, and … shocked the conscience.”  Attorney General Harris then appealed the dismissal. During the appeal, Harris made some appalling arguments, including Murray’s conduct was not “outrageous or conscience shocking in a constitutional sense, as it was not physically brutal.”

The appellate court pointed out that the fraudulent transcript was disseminated during settlement negotiations, which caused defendant’s attorney to encourage a plea deal based on the the highly incriminating false lines.  This irreparably damaged the defendant’s relationship with his attorney because he no longer trusted his attorney after the fraud was discovered.  The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s dismissal, noting that “as the facts of this case plainly demonstrate prejudice, dismissal of the charges against defendant was an appropriate sanction …”

No word yet on whether these despicable prosecutors will suffer any consequences, or whether they get to continue in their jobs, collecting their state pay on their way to their generous state retirement.

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