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June 20, 2011

Seventh Circuit reverses conviction due to feds knowing use of perjured testimony

Late last Friday the Seventh Circuit handed down US v. Freeman, No. 09-4043 (7th Cir. June 17, 2011) (available here), a remarkable opinion because it affirms the grant of a new trial to a defendant based on federal prosecutors' knowing use of perjured testimony. Here is how the panel opinion in Freeman begins:

After a five-week t rial , four defendants were convicted of various drug crimes. The district court later found that the government’s star witness had testified falsely, that the government knew this testimony was false, and that the government relied upon it to secure the defendants’ convictions.  The district court then granted a new trial, and the government appeals. Because the record fully supports the district court’s findings that the government knowingly used false testimony and that this testimony affected the jury’s verdict, we affirm.

June 20, 2011 at 08:59 AM | Permalink

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Oops. Here is yet another case of a team of Federal prosecutors who do not seem to have the exemplary ethical standards of our favorite in house ex fed prosecutor.

Prosecutors in the case, included Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel Cannon, John Lausch, Sharon Fairley and Kruti Trivedi

"District Court Judge Lefkow wrote in her opinion, "Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Cannon's "dogged insistence" during her rebuttal that Williams' testimony was truthful, even after acknowledging that his dates might be wrong, constituted misconduct."

LOL, with absolute immunity what did she have to lose? The stupidity of the whole thing is that the government appears to have had more than enough evidence to convict without resorting to lying. Guess they just can't help it.

"U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said that while paying close attention to the ruling, his office believes prosecutors acted properly. Cannon is still employed by the office, according to a spokesman."

Of course he did and of course she is. Do you really expect him to throw one of his own under the bus? What will it take to stop these people from continuing their "win at all cost, by any method" tactics?

Posted by: Thomas | Jun 20, 2011 12:04:57 PM

Unn, this should be a flat dismissal, not a redo. When the prosecutors ethical lapses prevent a fair trial jeopardy should be exhausted not reset.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Jun 20, 2011 3:05:16 PM

Maybe the AUSA's need a mandatory minimum !!!

Posted by: Steve Prof | Jun 20, 2011 9:56:45 PM

couldn't agree more soronel ONLY ones who need to be on trial right now are the Prosecutors!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jun 21, 2011 1:45:27 AM

Steve Prof,
Yes, Man Min for prosecutors. They should get at least 1/2 of the sentence they are trying to impose.

Posted by: anon2 | Jun 21, 2011 9:48:58 AM

Thomas--

There was a pretty good method at one time--allowing a suit against the prosecutors. Of course, SCOTUS threw out that possibility recently. So I guess now there isn't a whole lot, aside from having to redo the trial, and maybe a little professional embarassment.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Jun 21, 2011 1:15:11 PM

Why is Otis not defending his vaunted Department of Injustice ????

Posted by: Steve Prof | Jun 21, 2011 7:24:32 PM

lol probably becasue in this type of case he is just as ready to hang the da who has pulled a stunt like this as we are!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jun 21, 2011 7:57:37 PM

"There was a pretty good method at one time--allowing a suit against the prosecutors"

Yep, and that is exactly the point Res. Why should a lawyer be any more exempt from being held accountable for malfeasance then those in any other profession? Could it be because those who created the immunity laws are............O' my, you guessed it.......lawyers.

Posted by: Thomas | Jun 21, 2011 9:20:26 PM

"Why is Otis not defending his vaunted Department of Injustice ????

Well it could be because he has been vacationing in Italy or some place or that he is too busy on a newer thread posted today telling everyone how he supports second chances for ex-offenders LOL.

Posted by: Thomas | Jun 21, 2011 9:25:50 PM

rodsmith --

Bingo!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 22, 2011 6:47:43 PM

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