ACLU-PA Statement in Response to Ethics Complaint Against Former Philadelphia Prosecutor

August 23, 2018
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PHILADELPHIA - Today, the Innocence Project filed an ethics complaint to the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania against Bridget Kirn, a former prosecutor in the Office of the District Attorney of Philadelphia who was lead counsel at the 2016 trial of Anthony Wright, an innocent man who spent more than 25 years in prison. According to the complaint, Kirn facilitated testimony from two Philadelphia police detectives that she likely knew was false, in the face of DNA evidence that cleared Wright and implicated another person from the North Philadelphia neighborhood where the crime occurred.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania issued a statement in response to the complaint. The following can be attributed to Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania:

“There is no greater power the government has than to advocate for a person’s incarceration and loss of liberty. The public has to have absolute faith that the people who prosecute crimes operate with the highest ethical standards.

“The allegations in this complaint are very serious. Prosecutors enjoy broad immunity for committing misconduct in the performance of their duties. There are very few mechanisms available for holding them accountable. The disciplinary board is one of those mechanisms, and our hope is that the board will investigate this complaint thoroughly, provide Ms. Kirn with due process, and reach a fair conclusion.

“Anthony Wright lost 25 years of his life because he was wrongly convicted. Then, the Philadelphia district attorney’s office pursued another trial, despite incontrovertible evidence that Mr. Wright was innocent, and allowed that process to drag on for three more years while Mr. Wright sat in prison.

“Prosecutors must be held accountable for their misconduct.”

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