Memorandum of Law of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, DKT Liberty Project, The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, The Bronx Defenders, The Chief Defenders Association of New York, The New York State Defenders Association, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and Discovery for Justice as Amici Curiae in Support of Defendant Carl E. Heastie's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment.
Argument: The legislature, empowered to regulate state prosecutors, may exercise its policy judgment to hold prosecutors accountable for misconduct or otherwise abrogate traditional immunities. Because existing mechanism fail to hold prosecutors accountable for misconduct, it is unsurprising that the legislature concluded the commission is necessary. That prosecutors rarely face accountability for misconduct is a widespread, long-standing, and well-documented problem. The record in New York is no exception, and prosecutors currently escape any accountability for misconduct. The commission will provide accountability that is currently absent.
Amicus curiae brief of the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Southern California, ACLU of Northern California and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in support of Respondent.
Argument: An office-wide practice of not vetting false jailhouse informant testimony was an administrative decision sufficiently attenuated from line prosecutors’ litigation duties to preclude absolute immunity from civil suit.