Meta Tag: Prosecutorial misconduct is ready for scrutiny. Federal prosecutors shall be able to perform their sworn duties as officers of the government. When this thing goes wrong, it is u for investigation.
Federal prosecutors take an oath to perform their duties with all their hearts. But unlike other professions, some federal prosecutors have desecrated said oath. Over time, prosecutorial misconduct has come under sensitive inspection. However, some prosecutors may tend to engage in this type of illegal conduct. There are several high-profile cases where misconduct has been taxing and complex.
However, federal prosecutor misconduct was not frequent and there may be occasional instances. But the truth of the matter is, there is a lot to lose; reputation, license, and money. It is a known fact that a law license is very much precious to lose. As a federal prosecutor, you are representing the government in court proceedings. The same shall be committed to performing the right thing with much integrity in each action implemented. That is recognizing their extraordinary power to protect the public.
The essence of prosecutorial ethics has been emphasized by modern events relative to the prosecution of a criminal sanctions case in the Southern District of New York. Alison Nathan, the federal judge who issued the decision highlighting the illegal actions of two federal prosecutors as well as the manner of handling such cases. In a crucial opinion, the judge wrecked the two (2) prosecutors for covering up the mishandling of evidence as well as their attempt to improperly utilize such evidence gathered by the FBI.
The criminal case against Ali Sadar Hashemi Nejad filed by the government is considered a high-profile sanctions case. It was alleged that Nejad utilized a sophisticated scheme to get away with sanctions made by the U.S government against money laundering.
After a series of tedious trials, Nejad was convicted. Before the sentence, the United States Attorney’s Office, as well as the defendant, jointly made an action to dismiss such. The government filed a motion to dismiss the claim because it was “marred by repeated failures to disclose exculpatory evidence and misuse of search warrant returns”. The court paid close attention to one of many pieces of evidence that was not rightfully disclosed to the defense which was the letter from Commerzbank to the Office of Foreign Assets Control which was regarded as exculpatory. Federal prosecutors shared the same during the proceedings. As soon as the government knew its obligation to disclose, it did not quickly disclose the document to the defense. But instead, prosecutors buried it in a series of previously presented documents. They managed to turn it over to the other party swiftly amidst late disclosure. The court ordered them to show-cause supplementing explanations of what they knew about said pieces of evidence, their obligations to disclose, and more importantly, the handling of the issue at hand. Verily, even after they filed such declarations, the prosecutors learned they need added information to bolster the contention.
The court is in blunder because of the failure of the prosecutors to promptly investigate the violations of disclosure, together with the one exculpatory letter to OFAC. In the court’s recognition, the disclosure delay, together with other misconduct, showcased a “systemic disrespect with the obligations to disclose”. The court highlighted that prosecutors then compounded these missteps through a sustained pattern of refusing to fess up”, the court added. However, the court did not settle that any of the Federal prosecutors “knowingly withhold exculpatory information or intentionally misrepresented facts to the Court.”
This led the court to recommend a “comprehensive investigation’ by the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility. The government boasted that it is implementing new measures for prosecutors and FBI cases to enhance the infrastructure relative to data management. The court recounted in detail that the failure of the federal prosecutors to disclose the Commerzbank to OFAC letter was the culmination in the long line of failure to disclose. The misstatement of the government in terms of the document followed other misstatements in terms of handling the evidence gathered by the investigation conduct initially by the Attorney’s Office of New York District.
The said letter was part and parcel of voluntary disclosure by Commerzbank to OFAC. The said bank was the intermediary in the $29 million settlement. Though the prosecutors failed to confirm whether the letter was disclosed to the defense until the trial ensues. The document weakened the case of the government since it suggested that the approach was not intended to obstruct the enforcement by OFAC.
The court highlighted that the federal prosecutor also did not produce some class of documents since they did not properly get in touch with the FBI concerning the materials in its possession. There is one scenario. When a federal prosecutor learned of a document that is not disclosed and considered asking a superior if it should be produced but did not take succeeding steps. These federal prosecutors also did not communicate with the FBI in terms of its searches and returns from the New York District Attorney, which cause the former to come up with a series of misstatements to the honorable court.
In turn, the court-ordered public disclosure of the entire filings so that “sunlight” would result in accountability. The government acquired a guilty verdict and then filed to dismiss the case on the grounds of misconduct. In the statement of the court, “the reasons it did so bear on the accountability of public officials and public confidence in the administration of justice.” The court stresses that it is the former’s hope and belief that the leadership of the Department of Justice has and will come up with steps to make sure that such mistakes are not repeated.