Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Follow-up on the story about the prosecutors in Senator Steven's case

Yesterday I reported and commented on the fact that an administrative judge has overturned the suspensions of the prosecutors who engaged in prosecutorial misconduct in the prosecution of the late Senator Ted Stevens.  See here. As you would expect, others are now commenting on the issue too.

Professor Jonathan Turley has a comment here.  He argues, in part, as follows:
The Justice Department has long been accused of whitewashing misconduct of its own prosecutors and rarely acting on acts of prosecutorial misconduct, including common complaints of federal prosecutors withholding evidence and making misrepresentations to counsel or the courts. Even in high profile cases of misconduct, the Justice Department often drags out investigations only to later quietly end them without sanctions.. . .

The result is that even this mild punishment will now be tossed out in one of the Department’s most damaging scandals. With the earlier sweeping DOJ finding in favor of the litigation team, the result is all too familiar for those who watch the department. Since the suspensions were viewed as laughable by most objective viewers, the ruling is not going to generate much discussion. What should be the focus is the continuation of the Justice Department’s record of insulating its attorneys from discipline for even the most egregious forms of misconduct. The result of such cases sends a clear message to the rank and file attorneys that they have little to fear from allegations of misconduct.
Over at the Legal Ethics Forum, John Steele comments that "[a]s I've seen the DOJ's internal discipline process play out, I've wondered why the DOJ does the disciplining of the DOJ lawyers. The process seems plagued by cozy insider-ism punctuated by the occasional burst of politically inspired discipline. I suppose there's no one else who can do the disciplining" Read the comments here.

The Blog of the Legal Times also has more details on the story here.