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Motion To Force San Mateo County DA To Reopen Child Molestation Case Heads To Court Hearing

Publication Date: 
August 10, 2010
San Jose Mercury News
Shaun Bishop

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.