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Tag: prosecutors

Atty. Gen. Holder to Step Up Training for Prosecutors in Light of Disastrous Ted Stevens Case

Eric Holder

Eric Holder

The issue of prosecutors failing to share discovery material is nothing new. But when the issue blew up for the Justice Department in the case of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens, something had to be done to show the Justice Department was responding. Will this additional training do the trick? Who knows. But at minimum, it’s a good act of faith.
Joe Palazzolo
Legal Times
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. on Tuesday said he would require additional training for prosecutors to reinforce their understanding of rules that govern discovery in criminal cases, following the advice of a federal judge who recently dismissed the government’s indictment against former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

In a statement, Holder said the department will provide supplemental training to federal prosecutors on their discovery obligations in criminal cases and create a working group of senior prosecutors and officials to review such practices in criminal cases. The training will begin in coming weeks, according to the statement.

After reviewing the Stevens case, Holder determined prosecutors had improperly withheld prosecutors’ notes that would have aided in Stevens’ defense, prompting the attorney general to move to erase Stevens’ conviction.
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Miami Judge Blasts Fed Prosecutors and Fines Gov $601,795

For the second time in recent months a federal judge has lashed out at federal prosecutors and accused them improper conduct. In Washington, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan not only just dismissed the conviction of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens, but ordered an independent attorney to probe the misconduct of the government. Now in Miami, a judge has taken offense to the government’s conduct and fined the government big timemiami-map.

BY MICHAEL VASQUEZ
The Miami Herald
MIAMI — Accusing federal prosecutors of knowingly and repeatedly violating ethical guidelines in a high-profile narcotics trial, a Miami federal judge Thursday reprimanded multiple assistant U.S. attorneys who took part in the case — and fined the federal government more than $600,000.

U.S. District Judge Alan Gold’s harshly critical 50-page order takes the federal government to task for acting deceptively and ”in bad faith” in the case of Miami Beach doctor Ali Shaygan, who was acquitted last month of 141 counts of illegally prescribing painkillers.

The $601,795 fine will be paid to Shaygan as reimbursement for much of his legal fees and costs. Gold formally reprimanded prosecutors Sean Cronin, Karen Gilbert and Andrea Hoffman and said he would send a copy of the order to the Florida Bar for its review.

While prosecuting Shaygan, the U.S. attorney’s office began a secret, undisclosed side investigation of Shaygan’s legal team, citing a suspicion of witness tampering on the part of the defense.

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Kansas Senate Votes to Let State and Fed Prosecutors Carry Guns in Court

Well,  maybe defendants will be a little better behaved if prosecutors pack heat. Who knows?

By CARL MANNING
The Associated Press
TOPEKA — Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman thinks allowing prosecutors to carry concealed guns in county courthouses could give them an added measure of protection if they ever needed it.
And on Thursday, the Senate voted 39-0 for a bill that would let county, state and federal prosecutors – including Attorney General Steve Six and his assistants – carry concealed guns into county courthouses.
“The courthouse is our workplace where we come in contact with people who pose us the greatest threat,” said Gorman, who been prosecuting criminals in Kansas City, Kan., for 28 years.
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Other Stories of Interest

Georgia Man Gets 2 Years for Bomb Threat at Wal-Mart (AP)

Prosecuting Illegal Immigrants Taking Toll on Federal Prosecutors and Eroding Morale

Prosecuting illegal immigrants is taking its toll on federal law enforcement. Someone needs to address this issue.

By SOLOMON MOORE
New York Times
LAREDO, Tex. – Inside a courthouse just north of the Rio Grande, federal judges mete out prison sentences to throngs of 40 to 60 illegal immigrants at a time. The accused, mostly from Central America, Brazil and Mexico, wear rough travel clothes that speak of arduous journeys: flannel shirts, sweat suits, jeans and running shoes or work boots.
The prosecutors make quick work of the immigrants. Under a Justice Department program that relies on plea deals, most are charged with misdemeanors like improper entry.
Federal prosecutions of immigration crimes nearly doubled in the last fiscal year, reaching more than 70,000 immigration cases in the 2008 fiscal year, according to federal data compiled by a Syracuse University research group. The emphasis, many federal judges and prosecutors say, has siphoned resources from other crimes, eroded morale among federal lawyers and overloaded the federal court system. Many of those other crimes, including gun trafficking, organized crime and the increasingly violent drug trade, are now routinely referred to state and county officials, who say they often lack the finances or authority to prosecute them effectively.
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New Crack Cocaine Sentencing Guidelines Bring New Struggles

crack cocaine

crack cocaine

Ever since the crack cocaine epidemic surfaced in the 1980s, authorities have wrestled with it in the courts. Here’s how the latest battle is playing out in federal court.

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Michael D. Thompson, a former crack cocaine dealer, thought he deserved a break.
Sentenced in 2000 to 15 years and eight months in prison, Thompson asked a federal judge in the District to release him, arguing that he had received an unfair sentence and has turned his life around behind bars, earning a general equivalency diploma and completing a commercial driving course.
Federal prosecutors said that was a terrible idea. Citing Thompson’s criminal past and prison disciplinary record, which includes threatening a prison official with a knife, prosecutors argued in court papers that the 37-year-old poses a danger to the community and should complete his sentence.
Thompson’s case is one of thousands around the country in which crack offenders and their defense attorneys are sparring with federal prosecutors over how to interpret new sentencing guidelines for crack possession or sale. The guidelines were issued to right old wrongs. But they have led to time-consuming legal challenges dealing with the often long-forgotten consequences of the bloody crack wars in the late 1980s and 1990s.

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