National District Attorneys Association issued a statement in response to the handling of the Jussie Smollett case. The statement, titled “National District Attorneys Association Statement on Prosecutorial Best Practices in High Profile Cases” can be found here.
The scathing letter reads in part:
First, when a chief prosecutor recuses him or herself, the recusal must apply to the entire office, not just the elected or appointed prosecutor. This is consistent with best practices for prosecutors’ offices around the country.
Second, prosecutors should not take advice from politically connected friends of the accused. Each case should be approached with the goal of justice for victims while protecting the rights of the defendant.
Third, when a prosecutor seeks to resolve a case through diversion or some other alternative to prosecution, it should be done so with an acknowledgement of culpability on the part of the defendant. A case with the consequential effects of Mr. Smollett’s should not be resolved without a finding of guilt or innocence.
Fourth, expunging Mr. Smollett’s record at this immediate stage is counter to transparency. Law enforcement will now not be able to acknowledge that Mr. Smollett was indicted and charged with these horrible crimes and the full record of what occurred will be forever hidden from public view.
Finally, we believe strongly that hate crimes should be prosecuted vigorously but the burden of proof should not be artificially increased due to the misguided decisions of others.Direct form the National District Attorneys Association Statement on Prosecutorial Best Practices in High Profile Cases
The handling of this case is negligent and egregious. The National District Attorneys Association is right to re-inform the nations prosecutors of how to handle a case. Obviously the Cook County States Attorney’s Office failed miserably at upholding the duty they owe to their constituents of enforcing the law.
Kim Foxx and the states attorney’s office broke every one of those best practices. All of these are also common sense best practices and it is amazing how intentionally poorly this case was handled.