Prosecutorial Misconduct

In Democracy in America (affiliate link), de Tocqueville observed that in America, every political problem becomes, at some point, a legal problem.

The modern version, is that, for a federal prosecutor, every legal problem becomes, at some point, a criminal case.

An AUSA in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan is in a fight with his 82 year-old next door neighbor over where a fence dividing their property should be placed.

He’s an AUSA who has been previously mentioned here on Above the Law — Arlo Devlin-Brown, the chief of the public corruption unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for SDNY.

He’s also the guy who prosecuted his former law school classmate Matthew Martoma.

As it happens, he’s not only a fan of criminal charges for his law school classmates, but also for his neighbors.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An AUSA Has His 82 Year-Old Neighbor Arrested Over A Dispute About A Fence”

* A Maryland judge ordered a court officer to deliver an electrical shock to a defendant. What the hell? [Baltimore Post-Examiner]

* Be less of a lawyer. [Medium]

* New York agrees to pay out $10 million to wrongfully convicted man. He may be gone, but former D.A. Charles Hynes is still costing the city money. [New York Times]

* Sentence requiring former Supreme Court justice to write apology letters to every judge in the state on a picture of her in handcuffs struck down as “unorthodox gimmick.” Now she has to write the letters on regular paper because apparently the apology letter part was an “orthodox gimmick.” [Penn Live]

* The public domain is awesome. [Clickhole]

* Lawyer accused of asking office manager if she wanted a “Dirty Sanchez.” Does anybody ever answer yes to that question? [Barstool Sports]

O. Henry considers the ramifications of rain on his wedding day.

* Intellectual property lawyer chastised for plagiarism. Repeatedly. As they say, it’s like O. Henry and Alanis Morissette had a baby and named it this exact scenario. [Retraction Watch]

* Legislator blocks an award to a wrongfully convicted man who served 11 years in prison because he thinks the guy should just feel lucky that he got released. His reasoning will surprise you… mostly because he doesn’t really offer any. [The Arkansas Project]

* Mike Spivey of Spivey Consulting is racing a 5K on Vail Mountain (at an elevation of 10,000 feet) as a fundraiser for Law School Transparency. Give your donations here. [Fundrazr]

* The family of the woman who posed for the iconic advertising character Aunt Jemima have sued alleging that the pancake peddlers screwed the model out of her duly earned money. [TMZ]

* A mystery woman has been sitting in an Ohio jail cell for weeks after trying to use false documents to get a driver’s license. Now it turns out that she’s a disgraced lawyer that we’ve heard of before…. [WINK News]

* The seeds of Halbig were sown a really long time ago. It’s a wonderful window into how a cynical gang of people make their plans. [Constitutional Accountability Center]

* Our friends from Aukland Law School that have given us parody videos of Royals and Blurred Lines have tackled House of Cards and adapted it to making your way into Biglaw. If you were wondering what a New Zealand accent impersonating Kevin Spacey impersonating a Southern accent would sound like, the video is after the jump…. [YouTube]

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Forfeiture law is insane.

There are lots of reasons to hate criminal forfeiture. You could dislike forfeiture because of the way law enforcement uses it to target poor people, the way law enforcement takes small sums of money that no reasonable person would fight over, the way some law man down south threatened parents with choosing between being arrested and having their kids put in foster care or forfeiting their cash, or even the way it creates insane incentives for cops to fund themselves by taking money from people whether they ought to or not. (For examples of this stuff, see either The New Yorker or The Daily Show, depending on whether you’re currently trying to impress someone).

Law enforcement wants that forfeiture money. And, as the examples above show, they’re going to do a lot to get it.

Though now, in Baltimore, a forfeiture case has led to an allegation that a federal prosecutor knowingly produced a forged document in a case.

If you believe a law enforcement officer’s testimony under oath.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Did An AUSA Knowingly Produce a Forged Document Just to Get a Forfeiture Judgment?”

* The legal price of adultery has apparently gone down. That’s good news if you’re trying to keep your motorcycle. [Verdict]

* The title is “Apply to Law School Now!” No. Seriously, don’t. [Slate]

* Professor David Bernstein says of Gawker: “So you can see how the headline is false on multiple levels but it certainly provides clickbait for Gawker.” The initial story Bernstein wrote kicking this off was: “YOU are a rapist; yes, YOU!” But, yeah all caps and exclamation points is in NO WAY click-baiting (oh, and it was also hyperbole on many levels). [The Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

* Barry Scheck was brought on as an expert to review the conviction that formed the subject of Capturing the Friedmans (affiliate link). Let’s just say he’s brought a different angle to it than the D.A.’s internal review. [WiseLaw NY]

* Federal judge nixes the infamous “no-fly list” for denying due process. Looks like a certain judge is going to have a hard time leaving PDX next time. [The Oregonian]

* If you’ve long feared injury from flying foodstuffs at baseball games, worry no more. [ABA Journal]

* Gifts for the Homeless is hosting a Battle of the Law Firm Bands in Washington, D.C. tomorrow. Be there or be square. [Crowdrise]

* A court in India has been asked to decide if a Hindu guru is dead or in a really, really deep meditation. In related news, Mike Myers is arguing to studios that The Love Guru was just “deeply meditating” at the box office. [The Telegraph]

* Patton Boggs, or Squire Patton Boggs more accurately, is losing its health care policy group to Akin Gump. Remember when Patton Boggs had lobbyists? [Legal Times]

* Take the “doctor” out of Juris Doctor and make law an Associate’s Degree. Sound crazy? Well, there are some good points in this quasi-satirical look. [The Legal Watchdog]

* A crocodile was injured by an overweight accountant. That is all. [TaxProf Blog]

* We’ve written before about the ongoing effort in Dallas to overturn wrongful convictions, but now that model is starting to pick up steam and reach other cities. [Christian Science Monitor]

* Aspiring writers: don’t miss the AAWW Publishing Conference, taking place in New York on Sunday, June 8 (discount code for ATL readers: “aawwfriends”). [Asian American Writers Workshop]

As Chief Judge Alex Kozinski recently wrote, “There is an epidemic of Brady violations abroad in the land. Only judges can put a stop to it.”

But judges need to know about prosecutorial misconduct in order to do anything about it. The public needs to be made aware of this important issue as well.

Last week, I interviewed Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor who has written a new book — a book that pulls no punches when it comes to her former colleagues at the U.S. Department of Justice….

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The first rule of state court is: you do not talk about state court.

* Foreclosure attorney Bruce Richardson alleges that Hogan Lovells partner David Dunn hit him with a briefcase in front of a court officer. That’s how they roll in state court. (Expect more on this later.) [New York Daily News; New York Post]

* From cop killer to nomination killer: Mumia’s the word that stopped Debo Adegbile’s nomination to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. [Washington Post]

* In happier nomination news, congratulations to former Breyer clerk Vince Chhabria, as well as to Beth Freeman and James Donato, on getting confirmed to the federal bench for the Northern District of California. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* It’s been a good week for amicus briefs. Congrats to Professors Adam Pritchard and Todd Henderson for getting the attention — and perhaps the votes — of several SCOTUS justices. [New York Times]

* How a Cornell law student got her father to foot the bill for half of her pricey legal education. [ATL Redline]

* As I predicted, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in United States v. Maloney didn’t sweep the alleged prosecutorial misconduct under the rug by granting the government motion without comment. [The Atlantic]

* RACEISM™ alert: federal prosecutors allege that deputies to a North Carolina sheriff accused of racial profiling of Latinos shared links to a violent and racist video game. [Raleigh News & Observer]

* Speaking of mistreatment of Latinos, a recent Third Circuit decision spells good news for some immigrant communities. [Allentown Morning Call]

* Sarah Tran, the law professor who taught class from her hospital bed, RIP. [Give Forward]

Who says she’s not a career woman? This is ‘Biglaw partner leaving Ken for her paralegal’ Barbie.

* With the impossible body ideal of Barbie gracing the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover, perhaps we should consider the positives that Barbie has contributed to women over the years. Missing is the rare, vacuous “math class is tough” Barbie. [The Careerist]

* A five-year-old writes the cutest response to the IRS. [TaxProf Blog]

* Professor busted for taking upskirt pics. His defense? How else was he going to prove the girls weren’t wearing underwear? Touché. Touché. [The Smoking Gun]

* The reasons to quit your Biglaw job. Now in listicle form! [Buzzfeed]

* The Supreme Court has a chance to take a stand against prosecutorial misconduct. Will they take it? [The Atlantic]

* If you’re violating your probation, be sure to videotape it and post it on YouTube. There’s no way your probation officer will see it. [IT-Lex]

* More insight into the world of contracting and America’s emerging economic model. [Law and More]

* On April 11-12, 2014, the Marquette University Law School will hold a symposium entitled “Judicial Assistants or Junior Judges: the Hiring, Utilization and Influence of Law Clerks.” Our own David Lat will be there, along with such luminaries as Judge Posner, Judge Sykes, Joan Biskupic, and Tony Mauro. [Marquette University Law School]

Uhh… my bad.

The big news in “Justice” today is a new report from Professor Samuel R. Gross of the University of Michigan Law School showing that exonerations of convicted criminals are on the rise. Gross used data from the National Registry of Exonerations to determine that 87 prisoners were freed from wrongful convictions last year, the highest number in decades.

In a way, that’s good news. More exonerations suggest that more resources are being spent going back over closed cases and freeing people based on new or better evidence. But the report is also chilling proof that our criminal justice system gets things wrong, all the time, and innocent people go to jail because of it.

Instead of being obsessed with conviction rates, state bars might want to look into prosecutorial f**k-up rates. Because it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer…

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