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Corey seems to believe that our criminal justice system is like a poker game in which the prosecution is entitled to show its cards only after the judge has decided to charge the defendant with second degree murder. That’s not the way the system is supposed to work and that’s not the way prosecutors are supposed to act. That a prosecutor would hide behind the claim that she did not have an obligation to tell the whole truth until after the judge ruled on probable cause displays a kind of gamesmanship in which prosecutors should not engage.
The prisons, both in Florida and throughout the United States, are filled with felons who submitted sworn statements that contained misleading half truths. Corey herself has probably prosecuted such cases.
Ironically, Corey has now succeeded in putting Zimmerman back in prison for a comparably misleading omission in his testimony. His failure to disclose money received from a PayPal account requesting donations for his legal defense made his testimony misleadingly incomplete. In her motion to revoke his bail, Corey argued that Zimmerman “intentionally deceived the court” by making “false representations.” The same can be said about Prosecutor Corey. She too misled and deceived the court by submitting an affidavit that relied on a review of photographs and other reports that showed injuries to Zimmerman, without disclosing the existence of these highly relevant injuries.
Even if Angela Corey’s actions were debatable, which I believe they were not, I certainly have the right, as a professor who has taught and practiced criminal law nearly 50 years, to express a contrary view. The idea that a prosecutor would threaten to sue someone who disagrees with her for libel and slander, to sue the university for which he works, and to try to get him disbarred, is the epitome of unprofessionalism. Fortunately, truth is a defense to such charges.
I will continue to criticize prosecutors when their actions warrant criticism, to praise them when their actions deserve praise, and to comment on ongoing cases in the court of public opinion. If Angela Corey doesn’t like the way freedom of expression operates in the United States, there are plenty of countries where truthful criticism of prosecutors and other government officials result in disbarment, defamation suits and even criminal charges. We do not want to become such a country.
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