April 23, 2010 10:20AM

Trouble in Georgia: The Tonya Craft Trial

William Anderson has been blogging about a child abuse prosecution underway in Georgia in which Tonya Craft is accused of abusing her daughter. The daughter, some of her friends (and their parents), and Ms. Craft’s ex‐​husband are witnesses for the state — so Ms. Craft needed and obtained a good defense lawyer. However, there is only so much a defense lawyer can do when the prosecutor and the judge in the case start breaking rules. 

Anderson’s account of the prosecutorial and judicial misconduct is shocking. Here’s a sampling:

  • A Facebook status update written by the prosecutor, with comments left by witnesses for the pending trial.
  • A mother claiming on the stand that her daughter had never taken acting classes, yet with information on IMDB that suggests she’s taken acting classes in Atlanta (that information was dismissed by the judge).
  • The judge sitting on the case represented the defendant’s husband in their divorce, but refused to recuse himself from the case.

More here. Some are comparing this case to the Duke lacrosse players who were railroaded by Michael Nifong. That case — bad as it was — fell apart before the trial got underway. This case is in trial right now and the judge is compounding the prosecutorial abuses.

Anderson had a recent article in Cato’s Regulation magazine. For more Cato work on prosecutorial misconduct, go here and here.