April 7, 2009
Strong words and actions as Stevens conviction set aside
As detailed in this CNN report, the formal dismissal of former Senator Ted Stevens's prosecution came with some verbal fireworks today:
A federal judge Tuesday set aside the conviction of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. He also initiated criminal contempt proceedings against the government lawyers who prosecuted Stevens. He appointed an independent, nongovernment attorney to investigate the matter.
"Until recently, my faith in the criminal justice system was unwavering. But what some members of this prosecution team did nearly destroyed my faith. Their conduct has consequences they must know can never be reversed," Stevens said in a statement read to the court. "But today ... my faith has been restored ... [I have] new hope that others may be spared from similar miscarriages of justice."
Stevens added that he would "encourage the enactment of legislation to reform laws relating to the responsibilities and duties of those entrusted with the solemn task of enforcing federal criminal laws."
In issuing his ruling, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan noted that the Department of Justice's investigation into potential misconduct by government prosecutors had already gone on for six months with no result. "The silence is deafening," Sullivan said.
Regular readers may recall that I was hoping that Stevens might get reelected so that he could work on criminal justice reform from the Senate floor. Even though he now has to work from the outside, I hope he will still follow through on this pledge to push for legislation to regulate federal prosecutors.
Some related posts:
- DOJ seeking now to drop all charges against former Senator Ted Stevens
- Official AG Holder statement on DOJ's new position in Stevens case
- Prosecutorial misconduct or just standard operating procedures in Senator Stevens' prosecution?
- Plot thickens in allegations of prosecutorial misconduct in Senator Stevens' case
- More ugliness revealed in prosecution of former Senator Ted Stevens
- Senator Stevens convicted on all counts
- Some sentencing questions after Senator Stevens conviction
- How should (and will) Senator Stevens' political past and future impact his sentencing?
UPDATE: This Legal Times report suggests that Judge Sullivan has been troubled by prosecutorial misconduct in cases others than just Stevens's case:
At a hearing Tuesday morning in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on the government's motion to dismiss, Sullivan said Stevens' case was symptomatic of a larger trend of misconduct. The judge urged his colleagues around the country to enter exculpatory evidence orders at the outset of every criminal case, and to require that exculpatory material be turned over in a usable form.
The judge said Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. should train new and veteran prosecutors on the rules of evidence. He further suggested that President Barack Obama obtain the commitment of prospective U.S. attorneys to abide by these rules, and that the Senate Judiciary Committee push nominees on this point during confirmation hearings.
"We must never forget the Supreme Court's directive that a criminal trial is a search for the truth. Yet in several cases recently, this court has seen troubling failures to produce exculpatory evidence in violation of the law and this court's orders," Sullivan said.
April 7, 2009 at 02:32 PM | Permalink
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Tracked on Apr 7, 2009 5:55:32 PM
Innocent defendants have an affirmative duty to do the following:
Hire a legal malpractice lawyer to terrorize the defense attorney into rigorous defense, rather than a minimalist defense.
A rigorous defense always includes a motion for total e-discovery of all the personal and work computers of all federal prosecutors, their support staff, their supervisors, and the upper echelon of the DOJ, back to high school. For an improper motive.
After the first adverse ruling, do the same to the judge, a pawn of the government, totally biased in the favor of his employer, and a total appeaser of any demand by government employees.
Publish such to the web, and ask that others come forward with additional personal information potentially relevant to the legal dispute. File a countersuit against the Federal thugs. Seek to pierce the self-dealt, unlawful immunity of the lawyer on the bench.
Demand recusals for any hint of bias. File separate ethics charges for every single inappropriate utterance, one at a time.
These are members of the cult criminal enterprise hierarchy who must be stopped to preserve our nation. They attack a celebrity over trivial improprieties and breaking of the infinity of rules. No one on earth can obey this infinity of bogus pretextual rules. Then they immunize the well armed paramilitary illegal alien gangs that behead people who disrespected them. They are in total failure in their protecting the nation. The vile internal traitors permitted 9/11 by their prohibition of contact between the FBI and the CIA. The traitor bitch in charge of this treason got immunity from her fellow lawyer traitors on the 9/11 Commission, and got away with her vile, left wing treason. The role of the lawyer profession in 9/11, which was blameworthiness greater than that of Al Qaeda, was totally covered up. The vile lawyer prevented the attacks on Al Qaeda after their assault on our people in 1993. They generated mass lawyer make work instead of mass casualties among the enemy.
There will be a major terror attack again caused by lawyer Obama's appeasement of the enemy.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 7, 2009 9:19:45 PM
Maybe a way to deal with comments by lay people would be to set up a form a "slash-dot" style ranking of comments, so lay comments would sink to the bottom and we wouldn't be so harmed by them.
Posted by: S.cotus | Apr 7, 2009 10:30:54 PM
I always find myself wondering how many courts have imposed filing restrictions on Supremacy Claus. But then I realize his grammar and spelling are too good to be the real deal.
Posted by: DM | Apr 8, 2009 12:13:03 AM
Does Scotus or DM have a lawyerly remark?
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 8, 2009 1:04:04 AM
"We must never forget the Supreme Court's directive that a criminal trial is a search for the truth."
I agree with this with every fiber of my being. That being the case, why then are the charges being dismissed before a former legal finding of prosecutor misconduct. Truth is not based upon pure speculation and that's all we have right now.
Now that the charges are dismissed what happens when there is never ever any finding of misconduct.
What a sham.
Posted by: Daniel | Apr 8, 2009 1:20:45 AM
Daniel: The lawyer does not share your view. The trial is a competition of fairy tales in a Broadway production. The side with the most moving acting, with the tunes that people whistle upon leaving the theater wins. There is no truth. Evidence to the lawyer is totally different from Evidence to science. The lawyer has an ideal of prevailing on procedural tactics, and feels a failure if the tribunal reaches substance.
Lawyers switch sides if paid. So the crusader against drunk driving becomes an expert prosecuting it, making $35K a year, and taking guff from political hacks who are his boss for 5 years. Once he knows that business, he quits. He can get almost all drivers off the hook if they pay $10K for a few hours work, because the methods are the same in most cases. If they have an alcohol problem, and being found guilty would save his life and that of future victims is not a concern. Only the $10K for a day's work is. The rent prevails over all other values, including personal health and family.
In the true story movie, American Gangster, the police officer returned $1 million in cash he found. Incorruptible. Right? Yes. He becomes a lawyer, and prosecutes an entire mob. What happens? He switches sides, and goes to the defense, and gets the defendant out early, befriends him, and defends his kind as his new job. The incorruptible police officer's moral rectitude did not survive lawyer training.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 8, 2009 6:59:02 AM
As a federal public defender, I'm appalled that prospective candidates for US Attorneys should have to be asked about following the rules. That is a minimal requirement of the law and should be presumed for anyone who is seriously considered a candidate for the position. However, knowing directly that there are prosecutors willing and able to skate right up to and over the ethical line, the reminder that even the powers that be are subject to review is good news.
Posted by: Lisa | Apr 8, 2009 3:58:48 PM