Category Archive: News

DOJ Report Finds Stunning & Outrageous Prosecutorial Misconduct

Themis 2544The creativity of prosecutors who know no bounds never ceases to amaze me.  Finally, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by the New Orleans Advocate, we have access to a 150 plus page report of the Office of Professional Responsibility within the Department of Justice addressing the astonishing conduct of former  senior federal prosecutors in New Orleans in several high profile cases–including the Danzinger Bridge case and the River Birch matter.

Even though it is heavily redacted, the report excoriates former First Assistant United States Attorney Jan Mann and former AUSA Sal Perricone, both of whom resigned in disgrace, after a target of their investigation sued them for posting slanderous comments online using aliases.  Compounding their misconduct, Ms. Mann even lied to her superiors and judges about it all.

The Louisiana Bar has done nothing yet–it’s only been three years!  For the details, please see my article in the New York Observer.

Meanwhile, LICENSED TO LIE: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice repeatedly hits #1 Amazon best-seller in Law/Ethics, Judicial Branch, and True Crime/White Collar.

It has been mentioned recently in the National Law Journal, in a New Jersey paper discussing the indictment of Senator Menendez, and in the Huffington Post discussing corruption in Orange County California.

New York Times Joins Kozinski Chorus on Epidemic of Brady Violations

Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court Competition, Monday, March 26, 2012, at Columbia Law School in New York.  (Photo by Diane Bondareff)Entitled RAMPANT PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT, the New York Times Editorial today joins the Los Angeles Times and cites Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s recent dissent from the denial of rehearing en banc in the Olsen case, where many judges (but not enough) saw a significant violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights when the prosecutor failed to provide evidence that would have seriously impeached a crucial witness. Kudos to the Times for recognizing the problem and speaking out.

Brady violations undermine our system of justice and jeopardize the freedom of each of us. A prosecutor’s job is to seek justice–not obtain convictions, but far too many have lost their moral compass. One need only look at the legacy of injustice of the Enron Task Force prosecutors and the prosecutors of Ted Stevens and others in Alaska to see the ravages of the win-at-any-cost mentality that has infected our Department of INjustice–especially in high profile prosecutions.

The comments to the NYT Editorial so far are particularly telling. Yes, there are ethical rules that are supposed to apply to prosecutors, but the various bar associations are not enforcing them. To make matters worse, the Department of INjustice demands the right to filter all production of evidence favorable to the defense through the prosecutor’s lens of materiality and are advocating for the imposition of a materiality requirement in the bar rules nationwide. That means the prosecutor really doesn’t have to produce anything, and unless a defendant is lucky enough to have a judge like Emmet Sullivan or a handful of other district judges who compel the government to produce everything, the prosecutors are licensed to lie and convict on whatever their own view of their case is. The truth can be suppressed for years–if not forever–while innocent people languish in prison or are executed on death row.

On top of that, our Department of INjustice also opposes legislation proposed in a bi-partisan effort two years ago that would codify the rule of Brady and give it some teeth. Called the Fairness in Disclosure of Evidence Act, the legislation received wide support from almost every legal organization but one–the Department. That is sad and unacceptable. We’ve got to do better. Wrongful convictions destroy countless lives. There is no reason that an open file policy could not be standard operating procedure except in cases of national security or clear danger to witnesses. Those situations are comparatively rare. And the Fairness in Disclosure of Evidence Act should be enacted immediately.

Obama Administration Fosters Enron Task Force Prosecutors–A Cabal With Records of Prosecutorial Terror Tactics and Supreme Court Reversals

Ruemmler & Obama

White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler has announced that she is leaving her post to return to “private practice” at the end of 2013.  Ruemmler barely escaped from the IRS scandal during which she said she failed to inform the President that IRS was targeting political adversaries.

Meanwhile, the DC Bar is still holding and apparently trying to ignore ethics charges filed against her by leading legal ethics expert Bill Hodes and this author after the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that Ruemmler and her Enron Task Force colleagues “plainly suppressed” evidence favorable to the defense. Indeed, they hid the evidence for years, while four Merrill Lynch executives spent up to a year in prison for a “crime” that these creative prosecutors manufactured.

Ruemmler, and her Enron Task Force colleague Matthew Friedrich, former Acting Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice,

Friedrich announcing Stevens' indictment

even told the district court and the Fifth Circuit that there was “no substantial issue for appeal” and vehemently opposed bail pending appeal for the defendants. At the same time, they hid evidence from key witnesses including favorable, exculpatory, and material statements that they had yellow-highlighted before trial, and still concealed from the defense–despite a court order to provide presumably accurate summaries of that evidence.

They provided carefully crafted misleading “summaries” instead, and they did all of this under the watchful eye and tutelage of our current General Counsel/Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew Weissmann, who was Director of the Enron Task Force at the time of several trials infected with misconduct, including the Enron Broadband debacle in which Lisa Monaco was one of the trial prosecutors.

Friedrich enjoyed a meteoric rise within the Department of Justice, and as acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, rushed the indictment of former United States Senator Ted Stevens. Then Friedrich micromanaged that prosecution until it blew up amid allegations and evidence of prosecutorial misconduct and hiding evidence that supported the Senator’s defense. There is more than enough evidence against Friedrich–in the report on the Stevens prosecution by Special Prosecutor Hank Scheulke–that Friedrich should have been investigated, at the very least, by a state bar or federal court.

Now, at the same time we learn that Ruemmler is leaving the White House, before more of her misdeeds are exposed, Mr. Obama announces that he is nominating former Enron Task Force Director Leslie Caldwell Click here to read more »

“Parallel Construction”– A Euphemism for Government Agents Hiding Evidence and Making Pretextual Stops

masthead-logoA Reuters Report this week reveals that DEA, IRS and other Federal Agencies have been keeping what amounts to a double set of files on their investigations– to hide evidence to which Defendants may very well be entitled as Brady or Giglio.  In some cases, it may very well be justified for certain details not to be disclosed to a defendant. For example, there may be a need to protect the life of an informant, true national security issues, or an ongoing investigation, but those matters should at least be disclosed to a federal judge for her to decide what information needs to be withheld. Quoting from the Reuters article:

“Internal training documents reported by Reuters this week instruct agents not to reveal information they get from a unit of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, but instead to recreate the same information by other means. A similar set of instructions was included in an IRS manual in 2005 and 2006, Reuters reported.

The DEA unit, known as the Special Operations Division, or SOD, receives intelligence from intercepts, wiretaps, informants and phone records, and funnels tips to other law enforcement agencies, the documents said. Some but not all of the information is classified.

In interviews, at least a dozen current or former agents said they used “parallel construction,” often by pretending that an investigation began with what appeared to be a routine traffic stop, when the true origin was actually a tip from SOD.”

When companies or individuals do things like this, it is called “cooking the books” or “fraud.”

Apparently, it has been going on daily in federal law enforcement since the 1990’s.  And, yet again, people seem to think that the Justice Department can investigate itself and solve the problem alone.  That hasn’t worked out very well  so far. Transparency–although promised–had been non-existent in this administration, and Holder is so into himself already that is all he can see.

Click here to read more »

Happy Bastille Day! Celebrate Freedom!

Happy Bastille Day, FRANCE!

Fireworks illuminating the Eiffel Tower and today’s fabulous image on BING remind us that our friends in France and cities throughout the United States join in celebrating July 14 as Independence Day for France.

“Allons enfants de la Patrie, le jour de gloire est arrive!”

May it also serve to renew our determination to protect and defend freedom and seek justice until it exists for every child, woman and man around the world.

Tiffany Shorter writing for The Washington Times reports: “Le quatorze juillet” (the 14th of July) in France marks Bastille Day, France’s Independence Day.The holiday that commemorates freedom and equality is celebrated beyond its national borders. On the other side of the Atlantic, over 50 U.S. cities join the French as they remember the movement that led to the birth its nation in 1789. It can also be a time to focus on the friendship between France and America, two great nations that share common values.