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September 24, 2010

"Misconduct cases taint justice in Iowa"

The title of this post is the headline of this new article in the Des Moines Register, which provides a local follow-up to the blockbuster report on federal prosecutorial misconduct published yesterday in USA Today (discussed here).  Here are excerpts from this new piece:

Prosecutorial misconduct by U.S. attorneys in Iowa has triggered serious consequences in felony cases involving drug distribution, bank robbery and other major crimes, resulting in reduced sentences, costly new trials and an acquittal, court records show.

Judges say it's unusual for the missteps of U.S. attorneys in the state to be serious enough to overshadow the often powerful evidence against defendants in federal cases or to warrant relief for defendants. But it does happen. "I can tell you it's not a frequent occurrence," said U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt, based in Des Moines. "But even if it happens one time, that's too many."...

A sampling of 10 instances of misconduct involving Iowa prosecutors since 1998, collected by USA Today, shows prosecutors in both the state's Northern and Southern districts have withheld exculpatory evidence, made false statements, tainted defendants in front of juries and acted in bad faith after making plea agreements. In each of the cases, judges were compelled to take action on behalf of defendants or reprimand government attorneys.

September 24, 2010 at 07:28 AM | Permalink

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Comments

This problem has a remedy, torts. I hope Prof. Berman allows the repetitive facts to influence his opposition to torts.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 24, 2010 9:32:56 AM

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