Monday, December 29, 2014

PowerPoint Justice.The Marshall Project exposes "prosecution by PowerPoint" in an insightful article by Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter Ken Armstrong. (Must, Must read. HL);

STORY: "PowerPoint justice: When prosecutors slide around the law," by Ken Armstrong, published by The Marshall Project: (Ken Armstrong is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who previously worked at The Seattle Times and Chicago Tribune, where his work helped prompt the Illinois governor to suspend executions and later empty death row. He has been the McGraw Professor of Writing at Princeton and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard)

GIST: " In Washington state earlier this month, an appeals court threw out a murder conviction based on shoddy work by the defense. But the court also took the prosecutor to task for something even stranger: a bad PowerPoint presentation.........At least 10 times in the last two years, US courts have reversed a criminal conviction because prosecutors violated the rules of fair argument with PowerPoint. In even more cases, an appellate court has taken note of such misconduct while upholding the conviction anyway or while reversing on other grounds (as in the case of Sergey Fedoruk). Legal watchdogs have long asserted that prosecutors have plenty of ways to quietly put their thumb on the scales of justice —such as concealing exculpatory evidence, eliminating jury-pool members based on race, and so on. Now they can add another category: prosecution by PowerPoint. “It’s the classic ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’” said Eric Broman, a Seattle attorney who focuses on criminal appeals. “Until the courts say where the boundaries are, prosecutors will continue to test the boundaries.”.........Perhaps coincidentally, the state where prosecutors have gotten into the most trouble over the misuse of slides has been Washington—home of Microsoft, the maker of PowerPoint. Since August of 2012, appellate courts have reversed at least seven cases in the state. Some centered on inflammatory images; in others, prosecutors used slides that mischaracterized the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard or infringed upon a defendant’s right to remain silent, according to appellate rulings."

The entire story can be found at:


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