Conviction Machine: Standing Up to Federal Prosecutorial Abuse

Conviction Machine: Standing Up to Federal Prosecutorial Abuse


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Prosecutors can “indict a ham sandwich,” we hear, and laugh at the absurdity. Yet the joke captures a truth: federal prosecutors wield enormous power over us all. And the federal criminal justice system is so stacked in favor of the government that shocking numbers of innocent people have been sent to prison.

In Conviction Machine, two leading authorities combine their knowledge and experience to describe the problems within the Department of Justice and in the federal courts—and to offer solutions. Both have already published books exposing flaws and abuses in the system. Harvey A. Silverglate, a prominent criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer, showed that every one of us is vulnerable to criminal prosecution in Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent. Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor in three districts under nine United States attorneys from both political parties and lead counsel in more than 500 federal appeals, witnessed appalling abuses by prosecutors that prompted her to write Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.

Together, Powell and Silverglate shine a light on the defects of the system: overzealous prosecutors, perjury traps, negligent judges, perverse limits on self-defense, vague and overabundant criminal statutes, insufficient requirements for criminal intent, and no accountability for prosecutors. Most important, they provide a much-needed blueprint for reforming the Department of Justice and the criminal justice system, including actions an average citizen can take to help restore justice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594038037
Publisher: Encounter Books
Publication date: 02/18/2020
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 34,764
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Sidney Powell is a former federal prosecutor and has also represented individuals, corporations, and governments in federal appeals for more than twenty years. She is a past president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and the Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit, and a member of the American Law Institute. Powell contributes articles on government misconduct and prosecutorial misconduct to a variety of outlets, and she appears frequently on multiple television stations as a legal commentator.

Harvey A. Silverglate is counsel to Boston’s Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP, specializing in criminal defense, civil liberties, and academic freedom/student rights law. He is cofounder and member of the board of directors of FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), and he wrote the "Freedom Watch" column for the fabled Boston Phoenix “alternative weekly” newspaper until it ceased publication in 2013. His work has appeared in the National Law Journal, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times Book Review, the Boston Globe, and elsewhere. Silverglate is co-author of The Shadow University with Alan Charles Kors.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Chapter 1 Catch 22: What Talking to the FBI Can Do to You 1

Chapter 2 There's Nothing Grand about Grand Juries: Except Their Size 15

Chapter 3 Acts of God: Discovery and the Hide-and-Seek Problem 25

Chapter 4 What does the Law Require of Us?: The Conundrum of Criminal Intent 41

Chapter 5 Plea Bargaining: Dancing with the Devil 59

Chapter 6 An Offer He Can't Refuse: Use Immunity Statutes-Not Backroom Deals-to Compel Testimony 73

Chapter 7 Prosecutorial Misconduct: Who Will Prosecute the Prosecutor? 83

Chapter 8 Where Have All the Judges Gone?: Federal Courts Have Supervisory Power over Federal Criminal Justice, and It's High Time They Used It 103

Chapter 9 Once is not Enough: Restore habeas corpus and coram nobis, Repeal the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 115

Coda 137

Action Items for Criminal Justice Reform

Acknowledgments 143

Appendices 145

Notes 171

Index 191

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