Monday, March 14, 2011

Overly aggressive prosecutors again

Being charged with a crime ruins your life. No question, whether you are innocent or guilty your life and career are put on hold and all focus goes to defending yourself. And, in our society, whether right or not, people are assumed guilty until proven innocent. I blogged on this recently and my convictions were confirmed by the vitriol in the comments - a "white collar worker" or an "executive" is absolutely assumed to be guilty. (the comments were not that surprising given that I blogged about it in the HuffPo)

Which is why it is so wrong that prosecutors can get away with pursuing someone for a crime when there is simply not enough evidence to charge him and ruin his life - and have no consequence themselves. We have just had another such example in Silicon Valley - the case against the former CFO of Network Associates. As reported by the San Jose Mercury:

In a remarkable ruling, a California federal appeals court has set aside the conviction, prison sentence and $200,000 fine assessed against Prabhat Goyal, the former chief financial officer of a Silicon Valley software firm who had been found guilty by a jury of charges he misstated revenue and lied to auditors.

The court didn't just reverse the case for a new trial, it threw it out completely. The author of the ruling, 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Richard Clifton, wrote in the December decision, "Even viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, no reasonable juror could have found Goyal guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of any of the charges against him."

In other words, there was no evidence of a crime.

The case, another in a string of imploded federal prosecutions, makes Goyal the latest victim of overzealous prosecutors.

Given how devastating being prosecuted is why is there not more public outrage when prosecutors step on ordinary Americans rights to advance their political agendas?

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