Holding police and prosecutors accountable for misconduct

Two police officers, a prosecutor, and a judge have been charged with conspiracy to commit perjury and with misconduct in Detroit.

Former top drug prosecutor Karen Plants and two Inkster cops were arraigned today and face up to life in prison for an alleged conspiracy to use perjured testimony to convict two drug dealers in a 2005 cocaine case, according to charging documents filed this morning.
In all, Plants is accused of five felonies and two Inkster police officers are each charged with four felonies in the court documents, filed by the Michigan Attorney General’s office after a nine-month investigation. Among the charges faced by the trio is conspiracy to commit perjury, a potential life offense.
Retired Wayne County Circuit Judge Mary Waterstone faces four felony counts of official misconduct, according to charges filed this morning in Detroit 36th District Court. The maximum penalty for those felonies is five years.
Plants is charged with conspiracy to commit perjury, one count of official misconduct for provide false information to defense lawyers, one count of misconduct for failing to correct false evidence and two misconduct charges for allegedly holding improper meetings with Judge Waterstone.

David Moffitt, one of the defense attorneys at the trial, asked Attorney General Mike Cox to investigate the case three years ago, but apparently was ignored until recently. The attorney general’s investigative report alleges that the state’s informants lied on the stand at a preliminary hearing, with the proseuctor’s knowledge. Later, the prosecutor had an ex parte meeting with Judge Waterstone where she told the judge about the perjury, and asked for and received an order signed by the judge preventing the defense attorneys from obtaining cell phone records that would have revealed the perjury. At trial, the prosecutor again met with the judge ex parte and discussed the perjury which was allowed to continue at trial without the knowledge of the defense attorneys.
They should be prosecuted. There are cops who lie under oath and there are prosecutors who will do anything to obtain a conviction. There are judges who will look the other way (although I hope it is rare that a judge will actually participate in unethical conduct such as what is alleged in this case). The only way to ensure the credibility of our justice system is for cops to know that they will be prosecuted for perjury and for prosecutors to know that they will be held accountable for their actions.
When prosecutors know that they will not be charged with anything, they know that they will not be disciplined by their state bar, they know that they are immune from lawsuit, and they know that judges will not dismiss cases for prosecutorial misconduct, there will be prosecutors who will take advantage of their free pass and do whatever it takes to win their cases. As much as we want and need to believe that prosecutors and police officers will be moral and upstanding by virtue of who they are and what they do, they are human and it simply is not always true.

14 Responses to “Holding police and prosecutors accountable for misconduct

  • Dear Mr. Frederick:
    Thank you to the SC Criminal Defense Blog for publishing an article on the judge, prosecutor, and police perjury case in your 3-24-09 posting. We never could have convinced the Michigan Attorney General’s Office to prosecute these public officials without the interest of the media, and now, the interest of widely read and well-written blog pages such as yours. Please email the 3-24-09 posting so that we may include it the on-line archives of the case.Thank you for your interest and dedication.
    David L. Moffitt
    Attorney for Alexander Aceval [criminal defendant-victim of above-referenced perjury conspiracy]. P.S. Follow the case at davidlmoffitt.com, “Aceval case” and “In the media” buttons. DLM

  • Thank you for fighting in this case – where many attorneys would have refused to speak out against such misconduct you took them to task and fought for justice as well as your client.

  • john zacchi
    10 years ago

    It is my hope that the two Inkster cops are the same ones who brutally beat my then 17 year old son for no reason in 1999. What goes around comes around.

  • kenny from chicago
    9 years ago

    Who can charge the police for altering documents and lieing to the grandjury to get a indictment , Also holding the assistent states attorney accountible for not checking the documents before charging a person with violating the law. Therefore I would deeply appreciate any additional information regarding Police and Prosecutors misconduct cases in Illinois . Thank you in advance. Kenny ” Chicago ” .

  • This is an update to the 3-24-09 posting on your site regarding the Michigan criminal cases of People v Aceval, a drug trial completely tainted by a judge-prosecutor-police perjury conspiracy, and People v Mary Waterstone, Karen Plants, et al, the prosecution filed 3-25-09 by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office of the People v Aceval judge [Wayne County, Michigan, Circuit Judge Mary Waterstone], prosecutor [Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Drug Unit Chief, Karen Plants] and two City of Inkster, Michigan police officers.
    The cases have progressed, although not as anticipated. Now on his sixth state court appeal seeking to overturn his conviction in the matter, the Michigan Supreme Court declined review 9-25-09 of Mr. Aceval’s Application for Leave To Appeal, but only on a 3 to 3 vote, with one of the seven Justices [Justice Corrigan] actually recusing herself because, as her terse one-line opinion read, she was likely to be called “as a witness in a related case.” It took sending a major daily newspaper reporter to that Justice’s house on a Sunday to elicit her admission that she had recused herself to testify as a future character witness in the trial of the accused Judge Waterstone herself!
    Mr. Aceval’s Application is now pending rehearing and other motions, most notably, to disqualify Justice Hathaway [one of the “No” votes on the Application], on the grounds of actual bias and the appearance of impropriety, in her “No” vote on the Application, and “No” vote on the defenses’s request for disclosure of Attorney General investigative interviews proving that Justice’s Hathaway’s ex-husband, who was the Chief Assistant Prosecutor and the ultimate supervisor over the accused prosecutor in the perjury scheme, himself knew of the perjury scheme at some point.
    Another pending motion is to appoint an alternate Justice, to remand the matter back for hearing by a super-panel of the [intermediate appellate court] Court of Appeals to break the deadlock, and to compel Justice Corrigan to disclose the circumstances of her agreeing to testify as a character witness for the accused judge. The matter is expected to be the one of the first substantive tests of the first new recusal rules adopted by the Court in 172 years.
    Meanwhile, accused Judge Waterstone moved to disqualify the Attorney General’s Office from prosecuting her because of a conflict of interest, where, as required by state statute, it represented her in a pro-se civil suit brought by Mr. Aceval some months before the Attorney General’s Office brought charges against her. This has delayed the preliminary exam of all the defendants from being held to date. The District Judge agreed with her, a Circuit Judge reversed, the Court of Appeals declined to review [leaving the ruling of no disqualification of the Attorney General intact], but upon review the Supreme Court 1-7-10 remanded with instructions to the Court of Appeals to re-review and to decide anew the case by 3-4-10. A decision from the Supreme Court of Mr. Aceval’s pending motions is expected within a similar time frame.
    Details and articles are collected at DAVIDLMOFFITT.COM
    Mr. Frederick, thank you and the South Carolina Criminal Defense Blog again for your interest. Only through media and internet attention through sites like yours was the Michigan Attorney General’s Office compelled to prosecute these public officials. Thank you and your site again.
    By: David L. Moffitt
    Attorney for Alexander Aceval

    • Thank you so much for this article! This same Judge Mary Waterstone served as Judge in my brother’s case and what occurred in the Aceval trail is similar to what took place and what we believe this same Judge participated in, in my brothers trial. This article will help bring attention and serves as proof to what we believe this Judge did and has a history of doing. Thank you again

  • So who do you file a complaint with? The state’s attorney?

  • Dear Mr. Frederick:
    This is a 6-16-10 update to the 3-24-09 and 2-12-10 posting on your site regarding the Michigan criminal cases of People v Aceval, a drug trial completely tainted by a judge-prosecutor-police perjury conspiracy, and of People v Mary Waterstone, Karen Plants, et al, the prosecution filed 3-25-09 by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office against the involved public officials, the People v Aceval judge [Wayne County, Michigan, Circuit Judge Mary Waterstone], prosecutor [Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Drug Unit Chief, Karen Plants] and two City of Inkster, Michigan police officers.
    Lightning strikes, hallaleujah! The Michigan Supreme Court has granted reconsideration of the 9-25-10 3-3 denial of the Application For Leave To Appeal and the case will be fully considered on oral argument within the next 60 days or so.
    The high court also denied Judge Waterstone’s appeal of the right of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office to prosecute her, and the judge, prosecutor and police officers will proceed to preliminary examination in the near future.
    Thanks to socially-conscious sites such as yours that kept public scrutiny on the case, and made the prosecution of these public officials, and the continuing fight to set aside the corruptly-obtained conviction that resulted from their actions, so visible!
    Further details are at davidlmoffitt.com. A Michigan State Bar Association Litigation Section Journal article discussing the case can be found at http://www.michbar.org/litigation/pdfs/spring_2010.pdf

  • Thank you for the updates, glad to see the appeal is alive and the case going forward against the officials.

  • Al Keena LPR
    9 years ago

    I am involved in a similar case in Warren in which the prosecutor,a Board employee,and animal control officer conspired to create a history of dog at large and vicious dog in which they did convict me on.One of the conspirators lives across the street from me. I have been forced to move out. I am looking for some one to help with the Civil suit and give me a opinion of what I should do next I have a hearing pending on a probation vio. and I have already been vio. once before at which time I did 10 days in jail these dogs are Black Labs and have never bitten anyone. This is a classic case of a which hunt for my head.

  • Letter to the Prosecutor, July 5, 2010
    On July 5, 2010, a man on the 29000 block of Parkwood around 1:20 a.m, in Inkster Michigan, shoots and kills a man who “he claimed” was an intruder. It is amazing how the police always believe the story of a man with the gun, who just killed someone, over a dead man. The story makes no sense at all. The Inkster man claims the intruder was armed with a gun, but was an extremely lousy shot. The Inkster homeowner, shoots the alleged intruder dead and fired several rounds of ammunition through his window, endangering the lives of neighborhood children. The homeowner could have protected his home with rubber bullets, but he chose to use lethal ones. Because the homeowner believes, if the man he shot lives, he might have a justifiable reason for being in his home. Like he was drunk and had the wrong home. The prosecutor must charge the homeowner with murder and child endangerment. You have a right to protect your home, but you do not have the right to use a lethal weapon, when a rubber bullet would have been more than sufficient. The Constitution says every man has a right to a fair trial and is innocent until proven guilty. But this homeowner shot a man dead, without a trial, without a jury and without a judge. We just assume that the dead man was an intruder, because the murderer says he was. A dead man cannot talk. The murderer knows this, and uses it to his advantage. There is no justifiable rationalization to kill someone. Not even if someone is in your home or threatening your life, because you could have used a rubber bullet. This homeowner knew he was risking the lives of neighborhood children, by firing his lethal weapon. The homeowner knew his weapon could kill someone and he also knew he couldn’t used a rubber bullet to stop any intruder. The neighbors in this Inkster neighborhood, have a constitutional right, to kill this homeowner, if they believe this homeowner might be risking their lives of their children, by his using a lethal weapon and firing it through the walls and windows of his home. It is the 12 jurors that decide if killing this homeowner is justifiable in self defense, to protect their children, in case this gun nut, starts firing his gun again at “alleged intruders”. There is no proof that the dead man was threatening the homeowner’s life, or that he was even an intruder. But there is plenty of proof, this homeowner fired a lethal weapon, risking the lives of neighborhood children and also killing a man without a trial, without a judge and without a jury, when he could have used rubber bullets.
    Fraser MI 48026

  • First of all, I note that Timothy, above, links to a website that claims he saw God in a motel room and that he has written a book and begun a new religion. Well done, Timothy.
    In response to his comment above, though, I just want to note that if someone is in my home or threatening my life, I have no duty to use a rubber bullet on them. I will use lethal force, and I will be within the law.
    In S.C. and most states, the Castle Doctrine is either defined by statute or is a well settled principle of the common law. When you are in your home (or place of business, or any other place you have a lawful right to be if you live in S.C.), you have no duty to retreat. And no duty to use a rubber bullet.

  • East Meyers
    8 years ago

    Timothy thinks he is in the Soviet Union.

  • Dear Mr. Frederick:
    This is a late update to the People v Alexander Aceval judicial, prosecutorial, and police perjury case discussed above. The prosecutor, Wayne County, MI Chief Drug Prosecutor Karen Plants was convicted, jailed and disbarred. The police were convicted and served short jail sentences, and the judge was prosecuted but state felony charges were dismissed upon a technicality. Mr. Aceval’s state court appeals were finally denied, and he sought habeas corpus relief in federal court in February, 2012.

    I am pleased to report that on 9-30-13 a Federal District Judge for the Eastern District, Southern Division of Michigan, the Honorable Arthur J. Tarnow, EDSD MI Case No. 2:12-CV-10897, granted the writ of habeas corpus , set aside Mr. Aceval’s unjust conviction obtained through judicial, prosecutorial and police misconduct, upon an unmistakably “sham” first trial, ordered his release from prison”forthwith,” and decreed that he could not be retried because of having been placed [by the second trial] in double jeopardy. An appeal by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, that prosecuted the judge, prosecutor, and police, ironically, remains a possibility as of this writing.

    Thanks again to you and the South Carolina Criminal Defense Blog for providing a forum to bring to light government misconduct, and the monumental hurdles that yet preclude any timely and effective remedy to such misconduct.

    Very Truly Yours,
    David L. Moffitt
    Co-Attorney for Alexander Aceval
    (v) 248-644-0880

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