Do Prosecutors Have to Follow the Rules?

JusticeIt can be hard to tell the good guys, from the bad guys. Arizona appeals court to consider how alleged prosecutor misconduct affected Jodi Arias murder trial.

Apparently this guy didn’t think rules applied to him.

Martinez faces a slew of allegations in connection with Arias’ case, including that he began a sexual relationship with a blogger writing about the trial and then used her to dig up information on the juror, according to the Phoenix New Times.

The Maricopa County prosecutor allegedly wanted “information that might disqualify her from continuing the deliberation.”

Also in the list of charges… He was in a relationship with a juror, and lied about it. He is accused of making “sexual remarks” about a county employee. (Is that harassment, or creating a hostile work environment?) And there are ethics complaint going back almost to the start of his career. Putting the “Criminal” in Criminal Justice System.

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The Fix Is In

In Chicago, “You can’t fight City Hall” apparently reaches to the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Crimeshea Kim Foxx. Court Documents Reveal Dan Webb, Special Prosecutor In Jussie Smollett Case, Once Donated $1,000 To State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.

So after Jussie Smollet (allegedly) invented a hate crime, and cops spent a boatload of taxpayer money investigating it, and then investigating him for making a false report, et cetera, Kim Foxx decided that all those felonies could just go away. After a call from the Obama’s attorney, or a friend who’s also an attorney, or whatever. The ethics officer for State’s Attorney’s office quit the next day. (Or 2.) So eventually a “special prosecutor” was appointed to decide if any laws were broken. In Cook County they don’t worry about ethics. They don’t even worry about laws all that much, unless they really, really get caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

But it turns out that this prosecutor is in fact “special,” but not in a good way.

The donation came from a fundraiser in October 2016 at the law firm Winston & Strawn, where Webb serves as a co-executive chairman.

[SNIP]
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, Webb said he does not remember writing the check and thus did not tell the judge who appointed him. It is a potential problem for the recently-selected special prosecutor.

Hat tip to Second City Cop, who calls the whole thing Business as Usual.

Those Unintended Consequences

Be careful what you wish for. You can also file this under, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” Police body cameras are capturing so much footage it’s driving some defense attorneys to quit.

It wasn’t that long ago that every SJW and defense attorney wanted every cop, at least in places big enough to sue, like NYC, Chicago, etc. to wear body cameras. Now they don’t like it.

Public defender’s offices have long struggled with high turnover. But lately, one time-consuming part of the job is driving lawyers out even faster.

Attorneys are quitting at least partly because they’re swamped by the amount of video footage they have to review from police body-worn cameras.

And in localities without public defender’s offices, court-appointed attorneys are struggling to maintain their own law practices and keep up with the body camera footage.

Hat tip to Second City Cop, who doesn’t have much sympathy. Lawyers demanded this – they can live with it:

You made our job too hard! We were just supposed to Monday morning quarterback you into a quick settlement, not actually have to defend our clients based on facts recorded by you evil police!

Lying Witnesses, Concealing Evidence, Innocent Men Condemned to Death

JusticeProsecutors love to win at all costs, even if that means putting innocent men on death row. ‘Jailhouse snitch’ helped send four men to prison, but her false testimony might help get two of them out.

Holland was known for her ability to overhear incriminating statements, and, Payne wrote, had “strategically” been placed by the Pontotoc County Sheriff’s Office in a cell across from Fontenot for nine days.

According to testimony given by Holland, she said she struck up a conversation with Fontentot, who told her that he, Ward, and a man named Odell Titsworth, took part in Haraway’s killing. She said Fontenot confessed to raping Haraway after Titsworth had stabbed her to death. The trio then poured gasoline on the body and burned it, Holland testified Fontenot told her.

But that never happened. When Haraway’s body was found in 1986, evidence showed she had been shot in the head, not stabbed.

Not that the prosecutor cared. He was rewarding that testimony by getting a reduced charge and sentence for her husband. (That was 7 years vs 40 years.) That was not disclosed to defense, and when asked on the stand about any benefits, she said there were none.

In another case there was DNA evidence that eventually cleared 2 people.

You think The Criminal Justice System cares about Justice? Think again. It cares about winning, and is willing to embrace the “criminal” part of that description if that means more winning.

Trump Kills Navy Achievement Medals for JAG Team That Screwed Up

If you call circumventing the protections of the Constitution a screw up. The medals made little sense to anyone outside of JAG. Trump nixes NAMs for 4 prosecutors tied to SEAL case.

“Not only did they lose the case, they had difficulty with respect to information that may have been obtained from opposing lawyers and for giving immunity in a totally incompetent fashion,” Trump tweeted.

And he was right. For the details on everything they got wrong, see the original story: Their case collapsed in court but 4 Navy prosecutors still netted NAMs.

First up there was some warrant-less surveillance carried out by NCIS with the original lead prosecutor on the case in question.

The spying wasn’t the only accusation of prosecutorial and police misconduct dogging the case. They were accused of manipulating witness statements to NCIS agents; using immunity grants and a bogus “target letter” in a crude attempt to keep pro-Gallagher witnesses from testifying; illegally leaking documents to the media to taint the military jury pool; and then trying to cover it all up when they got caught.

And for this they were awarded medals. Does the Judge Advocate General Corps realize how tone-deaf they are? Or is this just another issue of “Lawyers Behaving Badly?”

And for all this (and more, there was at least one more related trial scheduled) the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson ordered a review of JAG.

Lawyers (and Navy Cops) Behaving Badly

JusticeEnough to have the lead prosecutor thrown off a court martial. Lead Navy prosecutor in SEAL war crime case out over email spying.

Navy Cmdr. Christopher Czaplak was ordered off the case against Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher by the judge, Navy Capt. Aaron Rugh, on Monday after Czaplak admitted emailing 13 defense attorneys and paralegals, as well as Navy Times editor Carl Prine, a tracking beacon in an effort to find the source of leaks to the media.

It was part of an NCIS investigation. (So that makes it OK?)

In a related matter the judge released the defendant from pretrial confinement. Military judge frees Navy SEAL in advance of murder trial.

A decorated Navy SEAL facing a murder trial in the death of an Islamic State prisoner was freed Thursday from custody after a military judge cited interference by prosecutors.

It must be the mindset of .gov and .mil in the 21st Century. They think they can do anything. (Hat tip to Mobius Wolf.)

The DoJ: Winning At All Costs, Even If It Means Breaking the Law

The Criminal Justice System – more criminal every day. ‘We’ll Expose The Rest Of Their Dirt’: Cliven Bundy Vows To Fight If Feds Put Him Back On Trial.

So the prosecutors broke the law, got caught, got called out for it. Now they are calling foul. (Really?!?)

Bundy’s case ended in a mistrial on Dec. 20, 2017, after a team of federal prosecutors were found withholding evidence from the court that was favorable to Bundy’s defense. Prosecutors handed over roughly 3,000 pages worth of overdue evidence to the court after repeated requests from the defendants.

Navarro found the prosecutorial team had broken federal law and violated the defendants’ civil rights by not turning the documents over sooner, according to court documents.

The case was dismissed “with prejudice.” After the violations came to light. That was the 4th mistrial. But the prosecutors really, really want a 5th chance, which they can’t have because of the “with prejudice” dismissal. So they are appealing.

I think the proscutor’s office needs counseling; from where I sit, it sure looks like they are obsessed.

Oh, and for breaking the law, none of the lawyers faced any difficulties as far as I can see. No fines, no disbarment, not censure. Just business as usual. Just an “internal investigation.”

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions took notice of the Bundy’s case after Navarro dismissed it. Sessions ordered a DOJ investigation in December 2017 into the potential misconduct of the federal prosecutors, led by former acting Nevada U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre.

Yeah, I have tons of faith in that!

This is categorized as “Cops Behaving Badly,” because “Lawyers Behaving Badly” seems redundant somehow.

That the DOJ is obsessed with destroying a Nevada Rancher seems almost cliche. You can find details on the latest mistrial at this link.