Do prosecutors know the truth from a lie?

swearability-hearing-1

“If I said my robe is white, would that be the truth or a lie?”

Word is that California plans to make it a felony for prosecutors to hide exculpatory evidence from the defense.  That’s harsh: to the prosecutor cerebellum, “exculpatory evidence” is a contradiction in terms. After all, the defendant is obviously guilty or they wouldn’t have indicted him.

Instead of passing a law that can only contribute to mass incarceration, we have a better idea: subject all prosecutors to a swearability hearing to see if they understand the difference between the truth and a lie.

Swearability hearings are held when the prosecution witness is a very young child who, according to Ye Olde English legal tradition, is presumed not to understand the meaning of an oath. They typically go like this:

Scene: Two and a half-year old Stinky has accused her grandfather of violating the Federal Securities and Corporation Tax Law.  Judge Treacle questions her in a closed courtroom from which the defendant is excluded lest he make scary faces.

Judge: Good morning, dearie, I’m Judgie Treacle and this nice lady ADA Kickbush is here to help you. There, there, you mustn’t throw up. Dammit, Ms. Kickbush, can’t you get her a dog or something to put her at ease?

ADA Kickbush: I told them to send Fluffy the Child Witness dog, but they brought Terminator the K-9 by mistake. Fortunately we managed to keep him from eating the witness.

Judge: Is that what that barking was about? I thought it was Judge Bludgeon doing a sentencing. All right, let’s get this little monster – I mean, key witness – over with. Honey, if I said my robe is white, would that be the truth or a lie?

Stinky: Baaaaww!

ADA Kickbush: She’s saying it’s a lie, Your Honor.

Judge: Very well. Sweetheart, if I were to say this blue pen is red, would that be the truth or a lie?

Stinky: Snuffle.

Judge:  Correct. Do you understand that if you tell a lie, God will strike you dead and send you to Hell?

Stinky: Pee pee.

Judge: (Quickly) I find she’s clearly qualified to testify.

Stinky: I don’t think that’s an accurate description of God, Your Honor.  God is the Ground of All Being who exists everywhere and nowhere – (ADA Kickbush hustles her out of the courtroom).

Judge: What’s next?

Clerk: A couple of prosecutors from the DA’s Office are here for a swearability hearing, Your Honor.

Judge: (To them) If I said my robe is white, would that be the truth or a lie?

DA #1: Golly, that’s a tough one. Depends what the People’s position is. I’d have to ask my supervisor.

DA Supervisor: Judge, we have no statutory duty to disclose our position at this time.

Judge: Well then, if someone said this blue pen is red, would that be a lie?

DA #2: Not if we said so. The pen would be red.

Judge: (to DA supervisor) I’m shocked, shocked to see prosecutors who don’t know the difference between the truth and a lie!

DA Supervisor:   No worries Judge. We’ll put them in the Conviction Integrity Unit.

About Appellate Squawk

A satirical blog for criminal defense lawyers and their friends who won't give up without a squawk.
This entry was posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Criminal law, Humor, Law, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Do prosecutors know the truth from a lie?

  1. Alex Bunin says:

    The true/false questions give them a 50% chance of answering each question correctly. Tougher would be: “In a murder case, there are witnesses describing three other possible suspects, which, if any, statements do you turn over to the defense?”

    Like

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