Balko on prosecutorial misconduct

Radley Balko

In his most recent column, Radley Balko discusses prosecutorial misconduct in the federal criminal justice system.  Abuse is rampant, he says, and prosecutors who break the rules rarely face consequences.  You can find the first two paragraphs below:

Misbehaving Federal Prosecutors

A USA Today investigation finds egregious misconduct at the Department of Justice, with few consequences.

Radley Balko, September 27, 2010

Last week, USA Today published the results of a six-month investigation into misconduct by America’s federal prosecutors. The investigation turned up what Pace University law professor Bennett Gershman called a pattern of “serious, glaring misconduct.” Reporters Brad Heath and Kevin McCoy documented 201 cases in which federal prosecutors were chastised by federal judges for serious ethical breaches, ranging from withholding important exculpatory evidence to lying in court to making incriminating but improper remarks in front of juries.

The list is by no means comprehensive, and doesn’t claim to be. I checked the paper’s website for examples of egregious misconduct reported here at Reason: U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan’s politically-charged prosecution of Pennsylvania doctor Bernard Rottschaefer; Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Grayson’s outrageous persecution of the Colomb family in Louisiana; and the bogus Mann Act charges brought against Mississippi heart surgeon, Dr. Roger Wiener. None are among the cases in USA Today’s database. The paper should be lauded for its groundbreaking investigation, but as the reporters themselves acknowledge, they’ve really only scratched the surface. (The investigation also only looked at federal cases, which comprise just a tiny portion of the country’s total criminal prosecutions.)  You can find the rest of Balko’s column here.

One thought on “Balko on prosecutorial misconduct

  1. Seems federal prosecutorial misconduct is common. Also common practice for federal prosecutors to go after someone who is making life difficult for them. Alvin Clay knows the story.

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