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Flawed criminal justice system

Fredric N. Tulsky, with staff writers Julie Patel and Mike Zapler, data analyst Griff Palmer and research librarian Leigh Poitinger, of the San Jose Mercury News , reviewed every criminal appeal originating out of Santa Clara County Superior Court for five years to show that the Santa Clara County's criminal justice system is systemically troubled by serious flaws that bias the system in prosecutors' favor and, in the worst cases, lead to outright miscarriages, in a five-day series that was three years in the making. The investigation found that a third of the 727 cases analyzed were marred by some form of questionable conduct on the part of prosecutors, defense attorneys or judges and that California's Sixth Appellate District routinely found prosecutorial and judicial error to be harmless to criminal defendants — in dozens of instances, resorting to factual distortions and flawed reasoning to reach their conclusions. "The examination identified nearly 100 instances of questionable behavior within the study period, and dozens in additional cases, involving more than two dozen prosecutors."
Also see: More about how the story was reported.

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