Motion To Force San Mateo County DA To Reopen Child Molestation Case Heads To Court Hearing
Professor Robert Weisberg, an expert in criminal justice, is quoted in the San Jose Mercury on a court hearing set to reopen a child molestation case in San Mateo County. Shaun Bishop reports:
A legal dispute between San Mateo County prosecutors and a statewide victims' rights group over whether charges against an accused child molester were improperly dropped appears headed for a September court hearing.
The confrontation stems from the district attorney's decision in February not to pursue child molestation, child endangerment, poisoning and domestic violence charges against a San Carlos man.
Robert Weisberg, co-director of Stanford's Criminal Justice Center, said he agrees with the district attorney's view that a judge who orders a district attorney to prosecute would violate the constitutional principle of separation of powers. Also, such an order "would essentially be self-defeating," because the prosecutor could simply present a weak case that would not result in a conviction, Weisberg said.
"When it comes down to a question of a prosecutor not wanting to prosecute a case, it's simply unheard of in American law for a judge to be able to order a prosecutor to prosecute," Weisberg said.