District Attorneys

Obviously some people in my office … all of them … don’t like me.

– County Attorney Bill Sutter, of York, Nebraska, drawing a conclusion about his relationship with his co-workers. His co-workers have alleged that Sutter was disrespectful to women, made crude comments about his scrotum and about rape, and goofed around in the office. Sutter has refused to resign, and county officials are now attempting to initiate his recall.

Cyrus Vance Jr.

Mr. Vance performed well. The collateral damage to the career of Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who resigned in disgrace from the I.M.F., was clearly unfair, but that was caused largely by his sensational arrest, which Mr. Vance had no choice about effecting….

Given the attention paid to Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s arrest, Mr. Vance deserves enormous credit for pulling the plug on a highly publicized prosecution, especially since he could foresee the political damage to himself.

Scott Turow — current SNR Denton partner, former federal prosecutor, and acclaimed author — assessing Cyrus Vance’s handling of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case, in a New York Times op-ed.

Moshe Gerstein

The nauseating story of Moshe Gerstein has come to an abrupt end. Gerstein, who had been accused of possessing violent child pornography, has been found dead.

The allegations against Gerstein — who worked at Gibson Dunn and Skadden — were particularly disturbing. Gerstein was accused of stockpiling thousands of images of brutal child porn.

But he pleaded not guilty and was due to appear in court yesterday.

Instead, his obituary ran in The Republican today.

That obit is light on details, but an Above the Law source has attempted to shed some more light on the situation…

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Allegations of criminal conduct can be made against attorneys from all walks of life. An innocent-looking solo practitioner in Illinois can be accused of prostitution. A partner in a well-regarded Minnesota law firm, the incoming president of the state bar association, can be accused of molesting a child (and convicted of criminal sexual conduct, after pleading guilty).

Such seamy accusations aren’t limited to the heartland; we also see them here in New York, at elite law firms. As we mentioned last night, Moshe Gerstein — a 35-year-old corporate associate in the New York office of Gibson Dunn, who also once worked at Skadden — has been charged by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office with child pornography possession. And we’re not talking about garden-variety kiddie porn, but images of a particularly disturbing nature.

Let’s learn more about the charges against this young lawyer, have a look at Moshe’s mug, and hear from some tipsters who know him — including a former colleague….

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Being a federal prosecutor, an assistant United States attorney (AUSA), is a great legal job. The work is interesting and challenging, you’re serving the public, and you’re paid decently — maybe not Biglaw bucks, but reasonably well when compared to many state government or public interest positions. And if you want to earn more money later, perhaps as your kids approach college age, you can walk through the revolving door into the world of private practice, which values AUSA experience.

I worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in my home state of New Jersey from 2003 to 2006 (under then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie). My colleagues enjoyed their work. I remember that when I interviewed for my position, I met one AUSA who told me, “I love my job so much, I’d do it for free!”

Well… would you? Because that’s what some U.S. attorney’s offices are offering: the opportunity to work there, for no pay, with a minimum commitment as to time period.

And apparently lawyers are lining up for the opportunity….

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Don't sucker punch David Prater.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater: you, sir, are poised to receive the coveted “everybody now knows you’re a bad ass” award. Expect your phone call from Badass-in-Chief President Obama shortly.

The story from the Oklahoman (gavel bang: ABA Journal) starts off in scary fashion. A defendant, Emanuel “E Man” Mitchell, took a swing at prosecutor Prater, after the jury found E-Man guilty of felony murder. Prater never saw the punch coming.

But that wasn’t the end of the fight….

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Guess we won’t have Kenneth Kratz to kick around anymore. Kratz, aka the Sexting District Attorney, will soon step down as DA of Calumet County, Wisconsin. According to his attorney, Kratz’s resignation will take place before October 8, the date set for his removal hearing. The news was reported on Tuesday by the Associated Press.

Losing his post as chief prosecutor will definitely cramp Kratz’s dating style. He’ll forfeit his high-profile job and its $105,000 salary. He’ll no longer be able to hit on women victims seeking help from his office by sending them text messages that read “Are you the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA?” and “I’m the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize!”

And no more romantic dates at the medical examiner’s, either.

On a more serious note, one aspect of Kratz’s conduct in particular merits special condemnation….

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Feast your eyes on 'The Prize.'

Thanks to the internet, your memory is probably getting worse. But surely you remember our recent Lawyer of the Day honoree, District Attorney Kenneth Kratz of Calumet County, Wisconsin.

A domestic violence victim who turned to Kratz’s office for help claims that the DA sexually harassed her via numerous text messages, trying to convince her to have an affair with him. One of his texts read, in pertinent part, “I’m the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize!”

(Someone should put that on a t-shirt: “You may be hot, but I am the prize!”)

Alas, the recipient of Kratz’s “I am the prize” text may not be the only woman he harassed. Two other women have come forward with allegations against the district attorney — and one of them claims Kratz has some weird ideas about what constitutes a fun date….

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Does He See Dead People — On a Date?”

Everyone thinks of Midwesterners as so wholesome. Perhaps this perception is unfounded.

For example, why are Wisconsin lawyers so darn horny? First there were the Biglaw Bad Boys, accused of sexual assault. Now we’re hearing about a government lawyer — an elected district attorney, in fact — who apparently let his libido get the best of him.

Here’s the story: Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz sent a flurry of text messages to a woman, 30 texts over three days, in an effort to start up an affair with her. The woman, who described Kratz’s harassing texts as putting her through “three days of hell,” was a victim of domestic abuse. Kratz met the woman in course of prosecuting her ex-boyfriend for the violence against her.

OMG. Legal ethics FAIL.

And some of Kratz’s texts are simply 2M2H. Read on, and prepare for the LULZ….

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We’ve gotten used to private firms trying to take advantage of the terrible economy by convincing lawyers to sell their services for $0, but when it comes from a district attorney — a public servant with a law degree — it really stings.

A tipster reports that the DA’s office in Marin County (CA) is looking for new lawyers. The salary? Insulting:

Note: they’re not looking for a coffee-running intern; they want a full-on deputy DA. Yet they’re willing to pay him or her absolutely nothing…

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