New York D.A. to Review 50 Murder Cases for Possible Wrongful Convictions

scrabble JUSTICEThe NY TIMES Sunday front page article by Robles & Kleinfield reports:

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office has ordered a review of some 50 murder cases assigned to an acclaimed homicide detective, an acknowledgment of mounting questions about the officer’s tactics and the legitimacy of the convictions.

The development comes after The New York Times examined a dozen cases involving Mr. Scarcella and found disturbing patterns, including the detective’s reliance on the same eyewitness, a crack-addicted prostitute, for multiple murder prosecutions and his delivery of confessions from suspects who later said they had told him nothing. At the same time, defense lawyers, inmates and prisoner advocacy organizations have contacted the district attorney’s office to share their own suspicions about Mr. Scarcella.

The review by the office of District Attorney Charles J. Hynes will give special scrutiny to those cases that appear weakest — because they rely on either a single Read More »

Government Works Deal to Protect White House Counsel From Misconduct Charges in Skilling Case

Jeff Skilling

The Department of Justice and Jeff Skilling have inked a deal that may shorten the time he will serve in prison, but most importantly from the government’s perspective, the deal allows the Department of Justice to continue to cover up the gross misconduct of the lawyers who prosecuted Skilling in the case already partially reversed by the Supreme Court for the failure of its overarching and over-reaching “honest services” conspiracy charge and criticized by the Fifth Circuit as “troubling.”  As  John Emshwiller reports for the Wall Street Journal:

“The alleged misconduct, according to a previous defense filing, includes failing to turn over evidence regarding some of the interviews the government had with Andrew Fastow, Enron’s former chief financial officer and a key prosecution witness.

The filing contended that the additional interview material would have contradicted and undermined Mr. Fastow’s trial testimony.

A Justice Department court filing denied any wrongdoing and said that prosecutors turned over all the material required by law.

The Fifth Circuit appeals court, in its initial 2009 decision upholding Mr.Skilling’s conviction, said it was “troubling” that the government failed to turn over one potentially key statement from the Fastow interview notes to the defense.

“Perhaps even more troubling is that the government never disclosed” that same information to Judge Lake.”

The government to whom John referred above-the person no one wants to name-is  CHIEF WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL KATHRYN RUEMMLER.  Read More »


Fallout from the “River Birch” Saga has engulfed at least one additional federal case in New Orleans, and surely more will follow. The Times-Picayune reports that: “The investigation into possible misconduct on the part of prosecutors in former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office — an outgrowth of last year’s online-commenting scandal — is still active and may continue for ‘some time,’ court papers show. A motion filed last week with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, on behalf of the defendants in the Danziger Bridge case, says U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt indicated at an April 16  status conference in the bridge case ‘that the investigation … might be on-going for some time.’Defendants in the Danziger Bridge case, have claimed that the same prosecutors, Sal Perricone and Jan Mann, who corrupted the River Birch investigation, “sought to poison the jury pool through alleged leaks to the press and pseudonymous comments posted under stories about the case.” They are seeking a new trial in part on the basis of this prosecutorial misconduct. Judge Englehardt ordered an additional investigation by Department personnel – this time from outside New Orleans – and a report back to the Court. The Report was originally due in December 2012, was extended by the Court until January 2013, but the investigation apparently continues, as Judge Engelhardt has now confirmed. Stay tuned!
Photo Credit: CHRIS GRANGER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Assistant U.S. attorneys Jan Mann, left, and Sal Perricone, right, talk with the media about the Moses Jefferson verdict on Aug. 21, 2009. (The Times-Picayune archive)