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Sen. Stevens Prosecutors Held in Contempt:

The Washington Post reports that district cort judge Emmett Sullivanheld three DoJ lawyers in contempt for withholding information from Senator Stevens' defense attorneys.

Stevens and his lawyers complained during the trial about prosecutors withholding information. In December, they asked for his conviction to be tossed out. As part of their request, they asked for the documents related to Joy.

During yesterday's hearing, Sullivan repeatedly asked three Justice Department lawyers sitting at the prosecution's table whether they had some reason not to turn over the documents. They finally acknowledged they did not, and Sullivan exploded in anger.

"That was a court order," he bellowed. "That wasn't a request. I didn't ask for them out of the kindness of your hearts. . . . Isn't the Department of Justice taking court orders seriously these days?"

He said he did not want to get "sidetracked" by deciding a sanction immediately and would deal with their punishment later. But he ordered them to produce the material by the end of the day.

"That's outrageous for the Department of Justice — the largest law firm on the planet," he said. "That is not acceptable in this court."

Sullivan held all three lawyers at the table in contempt and demanded repeatedly to know who else was involved in withholding the information. Another government lawyer sitting in the back of the courtroom stood up and gave her name.

UPDATE: "Upon reflection" Judge Sullivan removed the contempt finding for one of the four DoJ attorneys. Details at BLT.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. DoJ Removes Stevens' Prosecution Team:
  2. Sen. Stevens Prosecutors Held in Contempt:
Thomas_Holsinger:
I've gone round and round with my Republican friends about this. They all swear that this was partisan behavior by career Democratic DOJ counsel, while I've been saying that it is non-partisan misconduct. It looks very much to me like really frustrated prosecutors determined not to let the ***hole skate again.

That sort of frustration has in my experience has been the leading cause of prosecutorial misconduct.
2.14.2009 6:46pm
Oren:
Can we clone an army of Patrick Fitzgeralds?
2.14.2009 6:51pm
ARCraig (mail):

I've gone round and round with my Republican friends about this. They all swear that this was partisan behavior by career Democratic DOJ counsel, while I've been saying that it is non-partisan misconduct


I think it was at least in part partisan, but in a manner that both duopoly parties engage in.



That sort of frustration has in my experience has been the leading cause of prosecutorial misconduct



That's a rather euphemistic way to say "prosecutors lie and cheat when they think they might lose".
2.14.2009 7:07pm
David Warner:
"prosecutors lie and cheat when they think they might lose are on the side of the angels".
2.14.2009 7:15pm
MJN1957:
Yes Thomas, lets string up all those ***holes! No rules, damn the Courts, burn the Constitution, full speed ahead!!!

Why even waste time with messy trials and such...it isn't like we need to be civilized or anything. Heck, even the potential for innocence is a mere technicality!

You just hop up on your white horse, point them out and we shall have at them...Right?

...and when YOU become the ***hole for spewing such swill in public we can expect you to put your own head in the noose...Right?
2.14.2009 7:18pm
mga2 (mail):
Oren, what makes you think Fitzgerald is any better? The press conference he held to announce the Blagoyovich complaint went well over the line in drumming up a firestorm against Blago (who, almost surely, deserved it). It is a rare prosecutor indeed that understands that his/her job isn't necessarily to win every case but to see that justice is done.
2.14.2009 7:46pm
jccamp (mail):
Here's a link to some pretty good background on this entire Chad joy deal...
HERE


A good part of Joy's allegations seem pretty silly to me - his supervisory special agent wore a skirt to court? - although one allegation does fit the defense's theory. That was the prosecution dismissing a subpoenaed witness and sending him back to Alaska during the trial. The government claimed he was too sick to testify - and he did pass away soon after - but he had been subpoenaed by the defense as well. The agent says the witness was sent home because he did poorly in a mock cross examination.

The DOJ originally offered a "work product" exemption claim for the Joy complaint, which the judge denied. His order to turn the memo over to the defense was apparently of very short notice, and the prosecutors may have been contemplating some other attempt to circumvent the judge's order when they missed his deadline. Their explanation will be interesting.
2.14.2009 7:54pm
Mike& (mail):
Does anyone else find it ironic that the heads of the Public Integrity Division have no integrity?
2.14.2009 8:20pm
Prosecutorial Indiscretion:
Can we clone an army of Patrick Fitzgeralds?

Heavens no. After that embarrassing, unprofessional, and unethical press conference, I'm disappointed he's staying on as U.S. Attorney.
2.14.2009 8:43pm
Elliot123 (mail):
We often hear that career government employees are somehow more honest than political appointees. Looks like these career folks at DOJ are just run of the mill crooks. How common is this type of beavior? I wonder how many other career employees knew what was happening.
2.14.2009 8:55pm
progressoverpeace (mail):

Oren:

Can we clone an army of Patrick Fitzgeralds?


So we can get our government tied up for years with a nonsense case that the prosecutor knew everything about, from the beginning?

Well ... anything to tie up this insane federal government would be a good thing, so I guess Fitzgerald's sort of prosecutorial fishing expeditions might be just what is needed - something has to stop this lunatic Congress and the Precedent from shoving any more of this radioactive, legislative junk on America in record time.

But, that sort of legal sideshow is all that Fitzgerald seems to be good for.

The question is when some court is going to go after Johnny Sutton and put him in jail, where he belongs? (I already know the answer is, "Never", but it's nice to dream, sometimes.)
2.14.2009 9:00pm
RowerinVa (mail):
This sounds bad. But, as someone who has often had inside knowledge of what's going on in NYT and WaPo stories that were horribly misreported, despite the fact that I or my compatriots tried to correct the reporter well before his/her deadline, I wonder. Can it really be this cut and dried? Note that Judge Sullivan has a reputation for flying off the handle, so his flying off the handle again here isn't much of a signal by itself. Also, remember that you can't lose your journalism license for being incompetent -- there is no license to be had. There's no disciplinary system except the market, and it's a market where many readers reward partisanship or statism (the latter being the one true religion of reporters, in my experience!) rather than facts and truth. Certain readers will lap up a story like this and buy the papers or make the online ads worthwhile, and won't penalize the paper if the "facts" turn out to be exaggerated or worse. There's a powerful incentive in the rag biz to sensationalize.

I'm reserving judgment on this one. If the facts are as reported, these DOJ employees should be in big trouble. But that's a BIG "if."
2.14.2009 9:47pm
Cornellian (mail):
The possibility that Stevens is a crook and the possibility the the prosecutors are not as concerned with due process as they should be are not mutually exclusive.
2.14.2009 9:50pm
Mike& (mail):
I'm reserving judgment on this one. If the facts are as reported, these DOJ employees should be in big trouble. But that's a BIG "if."

You can read the documents at PACER. Here is a minute order re: removing Kevin D. from the contempt order:

MINUTE ORDER as to THEODORE F. STEVENS. On February 13, 2009, during a hearing held in open court, the Court held four attorneys with the Department of Justice ("DOJ"), including Attorney Kevin Driscoll, in contempt for failure to comply with this Court's January 21, 2009 and February 3, 2009 Orders, after the attorneys acknowledged that they had no reason for failing to comply with the Orders, they simply had not complied.

Upon reflection, however, the Court will not hold Mr. Driscoll in contempt. Mr. Driscoll did not sign the relevant pleadings, has not filed an appearance in this case, and appears to have been brought in by his supervisors only recently for the limited purpose of addressing a discrete issue. Moreover, the three senior DOJ attorneys present at the hearing did sign the relevant pleadings and have been working on the specific issues related to the Court's January 21, 2009 and February 3,2009 Orders for months. Therefore, under the circumstances, it was those attorneys', and not Mr. Driscoll's, responsibility to ensure that the government complied with the Court's Orders. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on January 14, 2009. (AS) (Entered: 02/14/2009)
2.14.2009 10:05pm
J. Aldridge:
Stevens deserves trial by his peers.
2.14.2009 10:32pm
PhanTom:
J. Aldridge, who would those peers be?

--PtM
2.14.2009 11:12pm
johnarnold:

It is a rare prosecutor indeed that understands that his/her job isn't necessarily to win every case but to see that justice is done.


I hope that when my prosecution career is over somebody will say this about me. And, hopefully all prosecutors aspire to this. But, it can be a difficult thing to continue to work for.

First, nobody else in the courtroom is aiming for justice day in and day out. Courts are referees maintaining the rules of the game, and defense attorneys are simply trying to get the best result for their clients (not that that is a bad thingg).

Second, there are lots of competing opinions suggesting why the prosecutor should go easy or not prosecute. This is a good person in a bad situation, the law is not fair (not a primary part of my job - the legislature's job), the cops were dirty in what they did (which doesn't discount that the defendant actually did the crime), or any number of other reasons why the prosecutor should not prosecute. But, failure to prosecute the wrong case, and your job is at risk.

Third, the pay isn't that good. Especially compared to private attorneys who are constantly trying to use any tool possible to see that their client gets the best result possible. Like it or not (and again, I am not saying that is wrong), that isn't justice. That is capitalism meeting justice.

Finally, aim for justice and do your job right on a particular case, and the next day it is at it all over again. The State doesn't call you on the phone and say thank you, the defendant doesn't, the defense attorney often doesn't complement you on being fair in a case (after all, that is your job is the backhanded compliment), and lots of people get mad that you weren't harsh enough. Sometimes it feels like a thankless job.

Aside from this gripe, there are plenty of good things about the job, and I love it. But, I get frustrated by the anti-prosecutor feelings in this thread, tone it back. It looks like the Stevens prosecutors did the wrong thing, but don't turn this into an "all-prosecutors are bad" thread.
2.14.2009 11:22pm
J. Aldridge:
PhanTom: Fellow Alaskans.
2.14.2009 11:27pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Third, the pay isn't that good. Especially compared to private attorneys who are constantly trying to use any tool possible to see that their client gets the best result possible. Like it or not (and again, I am not saying that is wrong), that isn't justice. That is capitalism meeting justice."

Would the pay issue be any different if those private attorneys didn't use those tools? So what?

And capitalism meeting justice? How much money is expended by the state trying to put one man in jail? Police? Investigators? Lawyers? Crime lab? Is that capitalism? It's not capitalism meeting justice, it's money meeting justice, and much of it is the state's money.
2.14.2009 11:34pm
PhanTom:
J. Aldridge, I doubt you could muster up six peers in the entire state of Alaska. I'd be amazed if you could muster up even one.

--PtM
2.14.2009 11:37pm
Jonathan Rubinstein (mail) (www):
Is there some doubt that Stevens is a thief? I understand form is important, but gentlemen, the man is an average political criminal, not unlike others who may be found throughout the Republic. I am beginning to fear that the law is simply not up to the task. The other remedies available to us are much cruder but if our judicial guardians do not get with it, the wind is really going to howl.
2.15.2009 12:46am
Soronel Haetir (mail):

Aside from this gripe, there are plenty of good things about the job, and I love it. But, I get frustrated by the anti-prosecutor feelings in this thread,


---


When you get down to it there aren't that many "all prosecutors are bad" threads, many more "unchecked use of the power of government is bad" threads. And even where the DA is elected, the connection to individual cases is tenuous enough that there is little true ability for the public to perform oversight. Not that other areas of government function aren't just as bad, criminal justice just happens to be one of the most visible faces of government power.
2.15.2009 1:39am
Cornellian (mail):
But, I get frustrated by the anti-prosecutor feelings in this thread, tone it back.

Cheer up, if every single posting in this thread was in the nature of "all prosecutors are bad" and the thread was ten times as long, that still wouldn't add up to even 1% of what the public thinks of criminal defense lawyers. You can at least know that (for the most part) you have the public's respect. The defense bar has hardly anyone's respect.
2.15.2009 2:20am
Public_Defender (mail):

The State doesn't call you on the phone and say thank you, the defendant doesn't, the defense attorney often doesn't complement you on being fair in a case (after all, that is your job is the backhanded compliment), and lots of people get mad that you weren't harsh enough. Sometimes it feels like a thankless job.

I've heard numerous judges in my state say that the criminal bar is far more professional and respectful of each other than the civil bar. Why? Because we have to to get along. If you screw someone over, you will see that person again, and they will screw you (or your client) over. You are much more likely to find prosecutors and defense attorneys at the same bar after work than any other set of opposing counsel.

As to complimenting prosecutors, you are right that we have to be careful that it's not a backhanded compliment. I wouldn't call a prosecutor's boss in gratitude for a good deal he offered because that wouldn't help his career. Oftentimes, compliments for good deals are spoken in hushed tones. On the other hand, we notice skillful briefs, arguments, and trial tactics. Prosecutors who are good at their craft get a reputation for being good at their craft.

Few things will hurt a prosecutor more than withholding exculpatory evidence. Just turn over the damn police reports and other information that hurts your case, and deal with the bad facts.

Yes, you are grossly underpaid. Welcome to the world of state court criminal litigation. When Chief Justice Roberts whined about how "low" pay for federal judges resulted in "high" turnover, I just laughed. He has no idea about the turnover in most prosecutor and PD offices.

And, by the way, all jobs are thankless sometimes.
2.15.2009 4:56am
PersonFromPorlock:
RowerinVa:

Also, remember that you can't lose your journalism license for being incompetent -- there is no license to be had.

There's hope for the future, though, since Heller declares the licensing of Constitutional rights to be permissible.
2.15.2009 5:29am
hattio1:
johnarnold says

I get frustrated by the anti-prosecutor feelings in this thread, tone it back. It looks like the Stevens prosecutors did the wrong thing, but don't turn this into an "all-prosecutors are bad" thread.


Nobody (besides those quoting you) said all prosecutors are bad. But some have a pretty low opinion of prosecutors in general. But, this comments section has a high proportion of lawyers, and also of criminal defense lawyers. You want people to have a higher perception of prosecutors...then convince your colleagues to play by the rules....EVERY TIME.
2.15.2009 6:55am
WILLIAM ESHELMAN (mail) (www):
It's not so much the evidence (or lack thereof) as it is the seriousness of the charges that requires punishment .... So, why waste time with trials, when everyone down at DoJ HQ "knows" he's guilty? The money saved could be better spent, say, on condoms.
2.15.2009 7:11am
Public_Defender (mail):

Nobody (besides those quoting you) said all prosecutors are bad. But some have a pretty low opinion of prosecutors in general. But, this comments section has a high proportion of lawyers, and also of criminal defense lawyers.

My guess is that the more shrill statements did not come from criminal defense lawyers. Most of us understand that prosecutors have a job to do. (I once fought for more than a year to get a client convicted of trying to kidnap a child released from a clearly illegal sentence. The other side fought me hard every step of the way. When I asked why, he said he was afraid my client would rape a child. I finally won the inevitable win, and the client was released. Less than a year later, my ex-client was pleading guilty to raping a child. That's why prosecutors fight.)

But I do think it's fair to hold prosecutors to a higher standard. They have an enormous amount of power--in the federal system, generally more than the judge. They can unfairly destroy lives as well as protect lives. The scrutiny is generally in proportion to their power and our high expectations for their use of that power.
2.15.2009 7:52am
jccamp (mail):
The comments such as "everyone at DOJ knows he's guilty" aside, isn't the most serious allegation from the wildly misnamed Agent Joy that the prosecutors sought to remove a witness from the court's availability by sending him back to Alaska? The judge considered this during the trial and took whatever steps he thought appropriate at that time to make the defendant whole.

This newest imbroglio can't be because the prosecutors thought the judge would somehow forget his own order, or that the defense wouldn't notice that they (DOJ) didn't comply. The DOJ lawyers must have been delaying based on some thought process or strategy to delay or amend the judge's order which subsequently failed to materialize. Their (lack of) action seems perhaps stupid, but it can't be termed evil in intent, if only because it never could have been successful. The delay in handing over the documents only provided the rope to the defense for the prosecution's subsequent swaying in the breeze.

If DOJ lawyers used a witness's physical infirmities as a ruse to remove him from availability for the defense during the trial, then they should be sanctioned. But that's hardly a given at this stage. So far, the government lawyers who engineered this fiasco seem more like the Three Stooges than Evil Geniuses.
2.15.2009 9:28am
J. Thelwell (www):

I've gone round and round with my Republican friends about this. They all swear that this was partisan behavior by career Democratic DOJ counsel, while I've been saying that it is non-partisan misconduct.



Please tell me how we know these were "career Democratic DOJ counsel"?
2.15.2009 9:55am
progressoverpeace (mail):

jccamp:

So far, the government lawyers who engineered this fiasco seem more like the Three Stooges than Evil Geniuses.


When the power of government is being wielded, the above distinction makes almost no difference, at all.

And to johnarnold (and his complaint of some "anti-prosecutor" feeling in this thread) let me give you a lay opinion: people are not specisifically "anti-prosecutor". What we are is extremely cynical and pessimistic about the intents and abilities of people in our governing institutions. We have seen nothing but ineptness, greed, irrationality, and criminal behavior among our officials - without them suffering any sort of sanction comparable to their crimes and incompetence.

With prosecutors, this has been particularly awful, as most of the more famous (infamous) cases have shown prosecutors committing atrocious acts of idiocy and criminality while never suffering a fair amount of justice for their misdeeds. This goes to Mike Nifong (and the lying rape accuser) both of whom conspired to try and jail 4 innocent people for decades - while, once the prosecutions clearly criminal intent and actions were revealed there was no punishment even remotely within proportion to their crimes. Why is Mike Nifong not serving at least the sum total of jail terms he tried to railroad the Duke boys into? Why are the rest of the people in his office not being held to account for allowing this mockery (and WEALL knew it was a mockery from the very beginning)? Why has Johnny Sutton twisted the law so outrageously, including lying to the court, and never been held to account? Why was Patrick Fitzgerald allowed to pursue a case that he knew the ultimate truth of (Armitage was the leaker) only to focus on destoying the life of someone who had nothing to do with the actual case? Where were the prosecutors for that awful tsunami of abuse of governmental power in Ohio, with the Ohio government seeming allowing workers to use their positions to harm an individual (Joe the Plumber)? Where were the prosecutors who are investigating BHO's obviously illegal campaign financing (many of people spent a few days making anonymous campaign donations with fake names and nonsenical addresses to his campaign - which had intentionally turned off the AVS for their credit card web site operation)? The list goes on and on and on.

Perhaps you have legalistic answers to explain all of these cases and why you think whatever sanctions the offenders were subject to were enough - but you should understand that normal people understand right and wrong and also know what proportionality means. This is a keen sense that is embedded very deeply in our culture and cannot be dismissed with the enactment of a bunch of nonsensical laws, each one of which cuts into the confidence that our institutions need to carry out their intended functions.

The bad feeling about prosecutorial (mis)conduct, and the lack of appropriate punishment, is but one piece of the general lack of confidence in our institutions (which is quite deadly in a modern society) and that is a well-earned lack of confidence. And before you cry about the bad pay and long hours, maybe you ought to consider the many cops that prosecutors go after, with the DA's office more than not looking to appease the street than enforce the law.

I would just end by looking around the West and saying that, while lawyers can look at what just happened in England with Geert Wilders and argue this way or that on some obscure laws, the general idea is well-known to the public and the idiotic nature of that decision is clear. This disconnection with common sense is fatal and I think all who work in the system would do all of us a favor to understand that ... and understand it well.
2.15.2009 10:03am
Oren:

Oren, what makes you think Fitzgerald is any better?

He has shown a remarkable ability to put both Democratic and Republican governors in jail. He nabbed Daley's croneys, put an entire Chicagoland police dept in jail. Whatever his flaws, he does so without partisan favor, which is a lot more than I can say for anyone else in Chicago.

progressoverpeace, Libby quite clearly lied to the GJ in the course of answering relevant questions regarding an open investigation. If Libby took his oath to tell the truth seriously, there would have been no charges in the Plame affair at all because, as you note, before his testimony he wasn't guilty of anything.
2.15.2009 10:35am
Oren:
Some links:

Link
Link
Link
Link
2.15.2009 10:56am
Public_Defender (mail):

Where were the prosecutors for that awful tsunami of abuse of governmental power in Ohio, with the Ohio government seeming allowing workers to use their positions to harm an individual (Joe the Plumber)?

OK. I'll bite. What criminal statutes (give us specifics) were violated and by whom?

Perhaps you have legalistic answers to explain all of these cases and why you think whatever sanctions the offenders were subject to were enough - but you should understand that normal people understand right and wrong and also know what proportionality means.

Prosecutors aren't morality police. They prosecute violations of criminal statutes. It's the job of the legislature to put what "normal people understand [as] right and wrong" into statutes. If it ain't in the statute, it ain't the prosecutor's fault.

And I can't believe that I'm acting as the defense attorney for all prosecutors.
2.15.2009 11:40am
tarheel:

Please tell me how we know these were "career Democratic DOJ counsel"?

(Channeling Sarcastro) Well obviously because Democrats have been in charge of the executive branch (and the DOJ) for 20 of the past 28 years. Of course all the bureaucrats are going to be Dems.
2.15.2009 11:53am
progressoverpeace (mail):

Public_Defender:

OK. I'll bite. What criminal statutes (give us specifics) were violated and by whom [for the Ohio, Joe the Plumber, instances]?


I won't bite. If you don't know what went on then there's no point. You might be the only person in the US who doesn't know, seeing that much of the ill-gotten information was splashed all over the front pages for some time.



Prosecutors aren't morality police. They prosecute violations of criminal statutes. It's the job of the legislature to put what "normal people understand [as] right and wrong" into statutes. If it ain't in the statute, it ain't the prosecutor's fault.


You see. This is exactly what I'm talking about. Prosecutors exercise discretion in the cases they choose to prosecute (or ignore) and the laws they use as the bases for their actions. In that discretion (and there is much at work in just about every single case) they are making moral determinations, and those determinations should comport with society's views.

Your attempt to paint prosecutors as automatons who just go around enforcing criminal law with utter fairness is not consistent with what we (non-lawyers) see.
2.15.2009 11:55am
ChrisTS (mail):
Public_Defender:
OK. I'll bite. What criminal statutes (give us specifics) were violated and by whom [for the Ohio, Joe the Plumber, instances]?


progressoverpeace:
I won't bite. If you don't know what went on then there's no point. You might be the only person in the US who doesn't know, seeing that much of the ill-gotten information was splashed all over the front pages for some time.


If someone does not know what one refers to, there is no point in explaining? Brilliant.

I'm 'in the U.S.' and I don't know what you are talking about, either. Who in Ohio did what to 'Joe the Plumber'?
2.15.2009 12:17pm
johnarnold:

And I can't believe that I'm acting as the defense attorney for all prosecutors.


Public_Defender, I'll buy you a beer if I ever meet you!

Also, to those who think I overreacted, you are all probably correct. I've never posted here before, but have read a lot of posts criticizing prosecutors. But, among those who sympathized or stepped up to defend my post, I've seen a lot of reasonable posts.

On the Stevens case, I hope it was a matter of the rush of the case meaning that some things were being overlooked due to negligence, not an intentional goal to hide evidence. Either one is improper, but the second is worse.

And, Cornellian, "and the thread was ten times as long, that still wouldn't add up to even 1% of what the public thinks of criminal defense lawyers. You can at least know that (for the most part) you have the public's respect. The defense bar has hardly anyone's respect" ... well said, I probably should have thought about that before I posted! My respect for a good criminal defense attorney who perseveres in light of this perception is immeasurable.
2.15.2009 12:26pm
progressoverpeace (mail):
*sigh*

PublicDefender, ChrisTS:

Just to get you started (from this blog):

Were Background Checks on "Joe the Plumber" Illegal?


And if you have no problem with the actual data mining, then maybe the leaking to the press should get your legal ire up ...
2.15.2009 12:28pm
PeterWimsey (mail):
Your attempt to paint prosecutors as automatons who just go around enforcing criminal law with utter fairness is not consistent with what we (non-lawyers) see.



I understand your point of view, but what nonlawyers don't see are the millions (literally) of criminal cases filed that don't involve any sort of prosecutorial misconduct or unfairness. I doubt that anyone here would defend Nifong (I certainly won't), but there is no evidence that this extreme outlier has much relevance to what really goes on in criminal trials day after day.

The same is true - on the other side - with respect to the OJ trial (the first one) - a bizarre case that has very little to do with how trials are actually conducted in the *vast* majority of cases. (Counter-example - Mike Tyson was tried for rape in Indianapolis; despite an enormous amount of publicity and a stable of prestigious lawyers (some of whom also worked on the OJ case), Tyson is convicted after a 3 week trial.

The point is that you can't really draw general conclusions about prosecutors or others (positive or negative) from extreme cases that are covered in the media. Of course you can conclude that Nifong is dishonest and Marcia Clark incompetent.
2.15.2009 12:37pm
Tom Perkins (mail):

progressoverpeace, Libby quite clearly lied to the GJ in the course of answering relevant questions regarding an open investigation.


That's only true of you believe the reporters. I don't. There is no trustworthy testimony showing Libby's guilt.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
2.15.2009 12:41pm
progressoverpeace (mail):
PeterWimsey,

I don't disagree with what you wrote, but the well-publicized cases do more to shape public opinion of prosecutors (and their offices) than thousands of unseen ones, and the break with common sense that is apparent in these infamous cases is quite egregious. Public opinion, while not legally binding on anyone, represents that gauge of confidence in the system that I was addressing and without which the system will eventually crumble. And I would stress that this public confidence I speak of is quite different from the threats of public violence by small minorities that have moved many of the decisions in other well-known cases - which the general public is also quite aware of.
2.15.2009 12:46pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"So far, the government lawyers who engineered this fiasco seem more like the Three Stooges than Evil Geniuses."

I think we might say that about most of the residents of our prisons. If the DOJ thought Martha Stewart deserved jail time, then I presume these guys also merit jail time.


"If Libby took his oath to tell the truth seriously, there would have been no charges in the Plame affair at all because, as you note, before his testimony he wasn't guilty of anything."

If Fitzgerald took his oath seriousy, he wouldn't have wasted our money after he knew Armitage was the one who spilled the beans aboout Plame.
2.15.2009 1:13pm
Oren:
Tom, your conclusion in undermined by 12 of Libby's peers that found the testimony of the reporters to be not only trustworthy, but ultimately trustworthy beyond a reasonable doubt.

Elliot, what part of Fitz's oath prescribes a particular method to be used when conducting an affair? Perhaps you could enlighten us to this oath, since nothing in the legislation seem to say that.
2.15.2009 1:39pm
Public_Defender (mail):
progressoverpeace,

Prosecutors must decline to prosecute a lot of violations of criminal statutes. There is so much violation of criminal statutes that they must prioritize. What they cannot do is prosecute something that is immoral but not a violation of criminal a statute.

Plus, the article you linked to about Joe the Plumber (actually, not named "Joe" and not a plumber, but that's another discussion) does not cite a single criminal statute that anyone might have violated. Something can be "illegal" (i.e., grounds for firing or for a civil lawsuit) but not a violation of a criminal statute.

Yes, sometimes prosecutors do stupid or immoral things. They have a lot of power and sometimes they abuse it. But they have a job to do. Some of the criticisms here and elsewhere are just complaints that prosecutors are doing their job.

If the prosecutors against Stevens cheated, then they'll be nailed. They will be held in contempt and the defense will have an issue to use to attack the conviction. That means the system is working.
2.15.2009 1:51pm
jccamp (mail):
"...then I presume these guys also merit jail time..."

So far, all that I see the prosecutors have done (or failed to do) is comply with the judge's order to turn over FBI Agent Joy's internal complaint in a timely fashion. There are allegations, as yet unproven, from Special Agent Joy that the prosecutors committed misconduct. The alleged misconduct had no effect on the trial, since the trial judge considered and remedied the missing witness thing during the trial. What exactly are you recommending the DOJ lawyers be incarcerated for? Or could we wait and see if they really did spirit a defense witness away from the court? In which circumstance, yes, put them in jail.

"I think we might say that about most of the residents of our prisons."

Not in my personal experience with convicted felons. Geniuses? Nope, not many. Evil? Yes, lots.

And, although I don't often agree with Oren, I don't see how that AUSA Fitzgerald could know, without an investigation, that there was a single source for the Plame information, and that the leaks were innocent of the intent requirement required for a criminal prosecution (for divulging secret information).
2.15.2009 2:11pm
Ak Mike (mail):
Public Defender - I'm not so sure the system is working. One aspect of what the prosecutors did that has not been commented on is the timing of their prosecution. They had been investigating this affair for years, and had all their witnesses lined up at least by the beginning of 2008. Yet they waited until after Alaska's primary in August to indict Stevens.

That meant that the voters of Alaska were stuck with an indicted (and, as it turned out, convicted) candidate on the Republican side in the general election. Had the indictment come when it should have, say in March, the whole business would have been over with by the primary and there would have been a fair senatorial election.

I blame the prosecutors for this. If they did not really have their act together by late spring, they should have held off until after the election, so that if Stevens was convicted he could have been replaced by special election.
2.15.2009 2:17pm
progressoverpeace (mail):
Public_Defender:


Prosecutors must decline to prosecute a lot of violations of criminal statutes. There is so much violation of criminal statutes that they must prioritize.

Yes. This is what I wrote when I talked about prosecutorial discretion. But thanks for repeating it.

What they cannot do is prosecute something that is immoral but not a violation of criminal a statute.

If Johnny Sutton could use an anti-gun law, intended to address those who choose to take guns to use in their crimes, to get huge sentences for Compean and Ramos, who were required to carry and use guns for their jobs, then I'm sure some prosecutor with an IQ over 90 could find relevant criminal statutes relating to the abuse of official power in Ohio, FOR PARTISAN POLITICAL REASONS, that they could have used.


Plus, the article you linked to about Joe the Plumber (actually, not named "Joe" and not a plumber, but that's another discussion)

This is just silliness. Ross Perot's name is not 'Ross'. So what? I can't even begin to figure why you threw this in. Not even an inkling.

does not cite a single criminal statute that anyone might have violated. Something can be "illegal" (i.e., grounds for firing or for a civil lawsuit) but not a violation of a criminal statute.


You're the lawyer. How tough is it to find something like a federal civil rights violation:

Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241
Conspiracy Against Rights

This statute makes it unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).

It further makes it unlawful for two or more persons to go in disguise on the highway or on the premises of another with the intent to prevent or hinder his/her free exercise or enjoyment of any rights so secured.

Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to ten years, or both; and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years, or for life, or may be sentenced to death.


That's federal, but I'm sure that I could find many more laws (Ohio criminal laws, even) with harsher punishments, that were broken in the naked abuse of government power by the crew in Ohio (along with the press that conspired to advertise the illegally obtained info).

Next thing you'll be saying that "it depends on what the definition of 'is' is" - which is the classic case of exactly what I have been talking about.

But, since your view seems to be that government employees can abuse their positions and look up and release all sorts of official information about private individuals (for political purposes, yet!) and there is nothing criminal about that, then I don't know what to say. Maybe I just don't know enough about the law to understand that this sort of behavior is not criminalized ... I mean, really.
2.15.2009 2:42pm
Public_Defender (mail):
Actually, no one threatened anything against Not-Joe-not-a-Plumber. According to the article, some government employees looked at his file, found nothing, and said nothing against him. I don't see how that qualifies as somehow punishing him for exercising his free speech rights.
2.15.2009 3:30pm
Toby:
Quite simply, PD, if Government Officials feel that they can/should routinely search the full records of any member of the populace that annoys them, then you have a climate of intimidation and fear inimical to a free society. Any public defender who is not a political flack should understand the problems caused by witness intimidation. They also apply to intimidation of press, and free inquiry, and of free speech.
2.15.2009 3:43pm
Fub:
progressoverpeace wrote at 2.15.2009 2:42pm:
Maybe I just don't know enough about the law to understand that this sort of behavior is not criminalized ... I mean, really.
According to the Wikipedia article on Joe the Plumber:
In response to ODJFS records search on Joe Wurzelbacher, Republican Ohio state representative Shannon Jones sponsored House Bill 648, which mandates civil and criminal penalties for improper access of personal information on state databases.[64] The bill passed the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate in December 2008.[65][66] On January 6, 2009, Governor Ted Strickland signed the legislation[67] which will become effective after 90 days.[68]
That said, I think it speaks volumes about prosecutorial discretion that in Pennsylvania (a VC thread), a prosecutor charges a high school girl with "criminal harassment" for publishing an obvious parody Facebook page, while no Ohio or federal prosecutor has seen fit to be so creative about prosecuting acts by government officials that were obviously intended to chill political speech.

As Seneca said, "One hand washes the other."
2.15.2009 3:49pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

the naked abuse of government power by the crew in Ohio

acts by government officials that were obviously intended to chill political speech.


No votes for "petty bureaucrats on coffee break curious about the suddenly famout Sam the unlicensed plumber's helper"?

Remember: Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

The crime is that government hiring officials do not screen out the idly curious -- or at least keep the curiously idle busy once hired.
2.15.2009 5:56pm
hattio1:
progressoverpeace says;

And before you cry about the bad pay and long hours, maybe you ought to consider the many cops that prosecutors go after, with the DA's office more than not looking to appease the street than enforce the law.


Heck if prosecutors were willing to routinely enforce the law against police officers, I'd overlook a lot of the other shenanigans. At least in my jurisdiction, they don't. The BART officer who is being prosecuted for shooting in the back an unarmed man who was lying face down pursuant to orders from the police, and doing it in front of plenty of witnesses is instructive...that's about what needs to happen before any investigation is even opened in regards to police.
2.15.2009 6:13pm
Michael McNeil (mail) (www):
Public Defender sez: "Not-Joe"

This is absurd — or rather, you are absurd. "Joe the Plumber"'s name is Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher. He, like many people, goes by his middle name. You're a partisan idiot.
2.15.2009 6:17pm
hattio1:
AK Mike says;

That meant that the voters of Alaska were stuck with an indicted (and, as it turned out, convicted) candidate on the Republican side in the general election. Had the indictment come when it should have, say in March, the whole business would have been over with by the primary and there would have been a fair senatorial election.


Actually, Mike, the whole business wouldn't have likely been over by the primary (wasn't that in June or August?) in the normal course of things. The only reason Stevens was tried so quickly was that he insisted on it. And, let's be honest, the fact that Stevens would have been previously indicted wouldn't have even slowed the Republican party down at their nominating convention. Hell, he almost won the general after being convicted. Besides, no one was running against him in the primary (or at least no one serious), so for the Republicans to put up a serious candidate would have required him stepping aside. You know, if you really are an Alaskan, that Uncle Ted would step aside for no one. You also know no one in the Republican party would have encourage him to. He would have won the primary even with being indicted (and probably even if convicted).
2.15.2009 6:19pm
jccamp (mail):
Public Defender makes a reasonable argument that checking a person's information in a state database isn't intimidation, unless it's threatened first or used publicly to affect others, and it may not be a violation of Federal statute. Even if one doesn't agree with his take, there's no need to get personal about PD's character. If your best argument is "you're an idiot", then maybe you should reconsider your own logic.

Or refer to 1 USC 1 for your statutory eligibility to call others names.
2.15.2009 6:45pm
Fub:
Tony Tutins wrote at 2.15.2009 5:56pm:
No votes for "petty bureaucrats on coffee break curious about the suddenly famout Sam the unlicensed plumber's helper"?

Remember: Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
Nope. No votes whatsoever for idle curiosity. Helen Jones-Kelley, Director of ODJFS, approved the search:
At the start of the investigation, Ohio State Rep. William Batchelder, R-Medina, called for Jones-Kelley to explain her agency's actions in reviewing individuals who have been the subject of news stories.[14] In a written response to a letter from Ohio Senate President Bill Harris (Ohio politician), Jones-Kelly defended her decision to approve of the search on Wurzelbacher after the third presidential debate:[15]

"Given our understanding that Mr. Wurzelbacher had publicly indicated that he had the means to purchase a substantial business enterprise, ODJFS, consistent with past departmental practice, checked confidential databases to make sure that if Mr. Wurzelbacher did owe child support, or unemployment compensation taxes, or was receiving public assistance, appropriate action was being taken. The result of those checks have never been publicly shared."[15]

According to The Columbus Dispatch on November 14, 2008[16], "In response to a public-records request, the state agency said yesterday that it had no records involving previous checks of the type that Director Helen Jones-Kelley authorized on 'Joe the Plumber.'" Tom Hayes and Barbara Riley, both previous directors of ODJFS, have responded to Jones-Kelley's searches and stated that they did not conduct searches due to an individuals status being raised to "celebrity."[17]
2.15.2009 6:57pm
Oren:

...in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States...

As yes, the vaunted 27th amendment -- the right not to have your public information searched because someone saw you on TV. Better tell the Ohio legislature that their bill is redundant.
2.15.2009 7:01pm
Duracomm:
Oren and public defender,

Non-public, restricted access, password protected, government databases were searched, that is the problem.

This is another example of why everyone should fear having their health records in a centralized federal database. Make the wrong politician look bad and your medical records are likely to be splashed all over the media.
2.15.2009 7:37pm
Duracomm:
The real danger is when you get prosecutors on a politically motivated witch hunt. Lots of good examples at the link below

The stench of prosecutorial abuse

the Task Force suppressed vital exculpatory evidence from its "composite" FBI Form 302s for Fastow and all other disclosures given to Skilling. The Task Force then proceeded to present critical testimony and argument at trial it knew was contradicted by the evidence withheld from Skilling.

Much of the suppressed evidence directly relates to—and refutes—the Task Force's pivotal contention
that Skilling orally agreed to "secret side deals" to manipulate Enron's financial statements.
2.15.2009 8:10pm
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
jccamp sez:
Public Defender makes a reasonable argument that checking a person's information in a state database isn't intimidation, unless it's threatened first or used publicly to affect others, and it may not be a violation of Federal statute. Even if one doesn't agree with his take, there's no need to get personal about PD's character. If your best argument is "you're an idiot", then maybe you should reconsider your own logic.

Since the only person to call “Public Defender” an idiot (at least thus far) in this thread has been me, I will note that I had and have nothing to say about his point concerning whether intimidation via perusing state databases is actionable, but said what I did purely in response his idiotic attempt (twice in this discussion) to deny “Joe the Plumber” the use of his own name.
2.15.2009 8:18pm
Psalm91 (mail):
Duracomm:

Skilling's problem is that he should have hired a real criminal defense attorney, not one trying his first case. He was arrogant and a terrible defendant, facts which were not mitigated at trial. What was the result on appeal?

Re JTP, if what was actually done was criminal, the decision whether or not to prosecute might take into account the fact that he has exploited his notoriety for all its worth. That means no damages.
2.15.2009 8:59pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Whether it's malice or stupidity, 'crats can't leak information they don't have.
Discovering private info leaked to my disadvantage isn't ameliorated if the leaker claims a low IQ as the reason, not orders from a higher 'crat I may have offended (which is to say, spoken about his abuses).
2.15.2009 9:08pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Public_defender, just to start, you might give up the "Not Joe Not a Plumber" trope; his common given name is Joe from his middle name "Joseph"; he uses "joe" in preference to his first name "Samuel" for reasons which are frankly his own damn business, and he was an apprentice plumber working doing plumbing for a licensed plumbing contractor. So his name is Joe and he is a plumber, to at least as great an extent as Rick Sanchez's name is "Rick" and he's a "journalist", seeing as Sanchez's real name is Ricardo and he is working as a journalist be didn't complete his training either.
2.15.2009 9:22pm
Fub:
Richard Aubrey wrote at 2.15.2009 9:08pm:
Whether it's malice or stupidity, 'crats can't leak information they don't have.
Corollary to Clarke's 3rd law: Sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.
2.15.2009 9:48pm
zippypinhead:
+1 to johnarnold and Public_Defender (who I've disagreed with on Consititutional criminal procedure issues on other threads in this blog, but have always found to be respectful and immune to sinking into the Troll-filled swamps that occasionally infests VC - including some unwarranted personal attacks on this thread).

When I was a very young, green Federal prosecutor, an elderly District Court Senior Judge who had been a DOJ official in a previous generation once admonished me in the heat of battle that "when you represent the United States, you must cut very square corners." That phrase, and the sentiment behind it, has stayed with me for many years. The Judge was right, and his point isn't limited to the Federal system - when you represent the public in the justice system, you have a special obligation to do the right thing. It's not a "win all you can game." And the vast majority of prosecutors, at all levels, know this.

Honoring one's Brady and Giglio obligations is critical to the integrity of the system, and failing to do so can have disastrous consequences for the success of your case (and possibly the future viability of your career). I know nothing about what happened in U.S. v. Stevens beyond what's in the press, so I can't comment on the reasons for the errors, if any, made by the Public Integrity Section's trial attorneys. But if Senator Stevens' conviction is vacated because of prosecutorial misconduct, it will be a sad day, on many levels.
2.15.2009 9:58pm
Sam Handwich:
Duracomm:

This is another example of why everyone should fear having their health records in a centralized federal database. Make the wrong politician look bad and your medical records are likely to be splashed all over the media.


Exactly right. These people who use facebook,myspace, etc. are crazy. j. Edgar Hoover never had a database, a computer, the patriot act, etc.

i use a process server who finds anybody. he's the best. one time he showed me a printout from some database, clearly gov't or nsa or something, with his picture, all kinds of cryptic initials and file numbers. See these vast gov't (and privately created) databases are ACCESSED BY PEOPLE. people who are flawed. people who have friends who ask them to 'check on this guy my daughter is dating.' people who use that information to make money in some other capacity.
2.15.2009 11:59pm
Sam Handwich:
I forgot to ask:

HOW MUCH DO FEDERAL PROSECUTORS OF THE RANK MENTIONED IN THIS POST EARN?

Someone earlier wrote about the poor pay. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think that applies to an experienced federal prosecutor. Their pay is high, I believe. There is no uncertainty in their work (no clients to recruit, no overhead to meet, no payroll to make, no lines of credit to pay down, no receivables to collect) and they get full benefits, pension, etc. So can we stop saying they are underpaid? Can we stop calling politicians "public servants" while we're at it?
2.16.2009 12:04am
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
zippypinhead:
+1 to johnarnold and Public_Defender (who I've disagreed with on Consititutional criminal procedure issues on other threads in this blog, but have always found to be respectful and immune to sinking into the Troll-filled swamps that occasionally infests VC - including some unwarranted personal attacks on this thread).

Casting yet another slur (and such a stoopid one) on Joe the Plumber (while defending those who rifled through his files looking for political dirt) is being “respectful”? Tell us yet again exactly what he did to deserve those kinds of attacks (especially the one on his very name) — other than asking St. Obama when he stopped by his house a question that O. answered badly?
2.16.2009 12:19am
jccamp (mail):
Re: Zippypinhead's post...

I've known far more stupid prosecutors than those who willfully attempted to evade their ethical or legal responsibilities in a damn-the-rules-let's-win thing. But, regrettably, there have been a few of the latter. Pretty much everyone around knew about them, too. So, while my knee-jerk reaction is to immediately defend the government guys against complaints from the forces of anarchy and darkness, some criticism is justified - in very limited and specific cases. I don't think anyone really knows yet -except the lawyers themselves, of course - which is the operative motivation for government missteps in the Stevens trial, lack of brains or lack of ethics.
2.16.2009 12:22am
Elliot123 (mail):
"I've known far more stupid prosecutors than those who willfully attempted to evade their ethical or legal responsibilities in a damn-the-rules-let's-win thing. But, regrettably, there have been a few of the latter. Pretty much everyone around knew about them, too."

That indicates pretty much everybody is the problem.
2.16.2009 12:31am
Public_Defender (mail):
Bringing this somewhat back to the topic (and dropping the debate over how to refer to Wurzelbacher), a comment claimed that the failure to prosecutor someone for searching databases for Wurzelbacher was a sign of prosecutorial misconduct. But no one has made a credible argument that anyone broke any criminal statute.

Sometimes lawyers and prosecutors deserve the attacks they get. But sometimes, people blame the litigators for deficiencies in the law the legislature created.
2.16.2009 6:30am
jccamp (mail):
"That indicates pretty much everybody is the problem."

Not really. Being aware of a person's propensities is not the same as being able to affect that person's behavior (or employment).
2.16.2009 9:33am
jccamp (mail):
"...dropping the debate over how to refer to Wurzelbacher..."

Putting it like that, I can see why McCain et al. preferred the everyman "Joe the Plumber" over "Wurzelbacher the Apprentice," which sounds more like a minor character from a Wagnerian opera.

"Coming up after the break! Bill O'Reilly takes Wurzelbacher the Apprentice into the No-Spin Zone!"

No, it just doesn't work.
2.16.2009 9:41am
jccamp (mail):
Apologies to PD for resurrecting the name thing...
2.16.2009 9:45am
Oren:

Bringing this somewhat back to the topic (and dropping the debate over how to refer to Wurzelbacher), a comment claimed that the failure to prosecutor someone for searching databases for Wurzelbacher was a sign of prosecutorial misconduct. But no one has made a credible argument that anyone broke any criminal statute.


Actually, it's even worse than that -- there was cited a pending bill in the OH legislature to criminalize that behavior. That suggests that the OH legislature does not believe that the conduct was criminal at the time it was committed.
2.16.2009 12:57pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Not really. Being aware of a person's propensities is not the same as being able to affect that person's behavior (or employment)."

I don't think that passes the common sense test. If someone "willfully attempted to evade their ethical or legal responsibilities in a damn-the-rules-let's-win thing," that's a bit more than a propensity. It's an action. Others who observe such actions, and take no action to curb them, are a big problem.

Would we give a similar pass to airline pilots who saw another pilot drunk and heading for the cockpit? Pharmacists who saw other pharmacists filling bottles with the wrong pills? Propensities?
2.16.2009 1:13pm
jccamp (mail):
Elliot -

OK, you're a government prosecutor. Another prosecutor tells you, in a social setting, that he (or she) - figuratively - round files Brady material if he thinks he can get away with it, without providing any particulars. Take it from there. What's your next step?

Another? You suspect another prosecutor has withheld Brady material in an on-going trial from his remarks. You don't know the specifics. Go for it.

Wait. An acquaintance in your prosecutor's office tells you he/she has left a witness off discovery notice, because he/she found a plausible way to do it. What do you do now?

So, tell the trial judge? Go see the trial division chief? Call the IG? And when you have no specifics, what then? When the other lawyer has a reasonable - and perfectly legal under one theory- explanation, even if it's subject to varying interpretations, tell me about your continuing job prospects. There's a reporter from 60 Minutes on the phone. What should you tell them? You've been subpoenaed as a witness by the defense in the motion for mistrial. It's in the morning paper - the ACLU is seeking new trials for every person ever convicted by your former friend, the other prosecutor. Suppose the other lawyer was simply blowing off steam, exaggerating his tactics?

If another lawyer clearly and deliberately withholds Brady material, and you know the particulars, then you'd better speak up. But suppose you're in a grey area, as above? Still think it's such as easy decision?
2.16.2009 2:19pm
zippypinhead:
I've known far more stupid prosecutors than those who willfully attempted to evade their ethical or legal responsibilities in a damn-the-rules-let's-win thing. But, regrettably, there have been a few of the latter. Pretty much everyone around knew about them, too.
And because pretty much everybody knew about them, those prosecutors inevitably weren't as effective as they should have been. As Public_Defender noted above, "If you screw someone over, you will see that person again, and they will screw you (or your client) over." The "usual suspects" in the criminal bar in most Federal Courthouses are a fairly small group.

And the Judges in all but the largest Districts know who tends to play fast and loose with the rules, too. Which undoubtedly means such prosecutors (and defense counsel) not only never get the benefit of the doubt in close calls, but the Judges probably assume the particular litigators in question are slimeballs who need to be forcefully reined in whenever possible.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" applies in the criminal bar, as in so many other places in life. If a prosecutor isn't aboveboard, it's eventually going to get around. And ultimately having a reputation like that will be a big career problem.
2.16.2009 4:25pm
Elliot123 (mail):
jccamp,

You initially described, "those who willfully attempted to evade their ethical or legal responsibilities in a damn-the-rules-let's-win thing." That's not interpretation.

Tell the judge, trial division chief, and IG what the lawyer in question told you. I see no obligation to tell 60 Minutes.

Consider the pharmacist who is in a social setting, and another pharmacist tells her how he thinks he can get away with providing only half the chemotherapy doses the prescription calls for. Should her first thought be her job prospects? What if she is called as a witness? What if tort lawyers file suit? What if 60 Minutes calls? What if the ACLU files suit? Lions and tigers and bears!!!

All those people who know, and consider their job prospects first, are the problem. That's called corruption.


"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"

Does that apply only to lawyers? Is there anything to be considered here besides a big career problem?
2.16.2009 4:59pm
Public_Defender (mail):
I friend who used to be an AUSA said that the DOJ occasionally audited files to make sure that AUSA's turned over all Brady material. If more prosecutors offices did that, we'd have fewer problems.
2.16.2009 5:48pm
ChrisTS (mail):
jccamp -
"Wurzelbacher the Apprentice," which sounds more like a minor character from a Wagnerian opera.


Thank you for making me laugh out loud.

progressoverpeace -
the awful tsunami of abuse of governmental power in Ohio


Well I remember that his DMV files were looked at. Is this your idea of an "awful tsunami of abuse"? You live in a much nicer world than I do, it seems.
2.16.2009 8:10pm
Just an Observer:
FYI, Politico reports: DOJ removes Stevens' prosecutors
2.16.2009 9:42pm

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