Tag: prosecutorial misconduct

Money for Nothing: how racial bias destroyed six lives, stymied a Black owned business and outraged a congregation

By Alan Bean

Six devout and dedicated executives are serving hard time in a Colorado prison and their loved ones don’t understand why.  From the perspective of those who worked and worshiped with these men, the fingerprints of racial bias are visible to the naked eye.  FBI agents and DOJ prosecutors never saw this as a civil matter, a case of well-intentioned businessmen incurring business debt.  Instead, scores of federal officials concluded, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that a Colorado software development company had no prospects of success, no interest in success, and existed for the sole purpose of defrauding business partners.  Until you realize that five of the six men at the heart of this story, the public face of the company, are African American, nothing else makes sense.

This instance of wrongful prosecution didn’t just damage individuals, families and businesses, it partially explains why, after more than a decade of effort and the fruitless expenditure of more than a billion tax dollars, the security issues that left America vulnerable on 9-11 remain unresolved.  It explains why criminal investigators in Philadelphia and New York City continue to use typewriters and why FBI agents still crank out hard copies of their investigative reports.

IRP (The Investigative Resource Planning Company), an information tech (IT) firm headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado had the answers, but the federal government was asking the wrong questions. (more…)

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.