Joe Biden’s “running-mate”, who also is referred as the “President” and “Commander-in-Chief” by Biden himself has a very dirty past. She was not only addicted to marijuana and sexual scandals, but being the top prosecutor in California, she faced series of scandals, including bribery.
One of Harris’s top deputies had emailed a colleague that a crime lab technician had become “increasingly UNDEPENDABLE for testimony.” Weeks later, the technician allegedly took home cocaine from the lab, possibly tainting evidence and raising concerns about hundreds of cases.
Neither Harris nor the prosecutors working for her had informed defense attorneys of the problems — despite rules requiring such disclosure. Harris “failed to disclose information that clearly should have been disclosed,” Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo wrote in a scathing decision in May 2010.
At first, Harris fought back. She blamed the police for failing to inform defense lawyers. She estimated that only about 20 cases initially would be affected. And her office accused the judge of bias because Massullo’s husband was a defense lawyer.
But the turmoil increased. With the local criminal-justice system at risk of devolving into chaos, Harris took the extraordinary step of dismissing about 1,000 drug-related cases, including many in which convictions had been obtained and sentences were being served.
Now this episode, which undercut Harris’s image as a polished leader and raised questions about her management style, has taken on new relevance as the pseudo president of the United States of America.
Harris’s opponent in the Democratic primary for attorney general, former Facebook general counsel Chris Kelly, said at the time that the ruling showed Harris had “systematically violated defendants’ civil and constitutional rights” because her office hid “damaging information about a police drug lab technician and was indifferent to demands that it account for its failings.”
A review of the case, based on court records and interviews with key players, presents a portrait of Harris scrambling to manage a crisis that her staff saw coming but for which she was unprepared. It also shows how Harris, after six years as district attorney, had failed to put in place written guidelines for ensuring that defendants were informed about potentially tainted evidence and testimony that could lead to unfair convictions.
Harris, in an interview with The Washington Post, stressed that the crime lab was run by the police. But she took responsibility for the failings, including that she had not developed a written policy so that her office would notify defendants about problems with witnesses and evidence, as required by law.
To be continued …
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