The Open File Blog
/ March 24, 2015
A reporter for the Shreveport Times, Maya Lau, has just posted quotes from an interview with Caddo Parish assistant district attorney Dale Cox  on Twitter about exoneree Glenn Ford and the death penalty. Cox, who has won four death sentences in four years, says “I think revenge is a legitimate motive” for the death penalty...
/ March 20, 2015
It’s been a busy week since an Orange County judge found that local law enforcement and prosecutors relied on unconstitutional practices involving jailhouse informants to seek a death sentence in the case of Scott Dekraai and ruled that the Orange County District Attorney was not fit to continue prosecuting the case. Judge Goethals’ ruling last...
/ March 18, 2015
UPDATE: After a quarter-century, Maricopa County’s notorious prosecution of Debra Milke is finally over.  The Arizona Supreme Court has denied review of the Appellate Court decision barring Milke’s retrial for murder on the grounds that it would expose her to double jeopardy.  That decision, discussed at length in our original post below, found the “egregious...
/ March 12, 2015
Adding to the recent flurry of media attention on prosecutorial misconduct in California, The Los Angeles Times ran a story yesterday – and an update today – on a highly anticipated ruling from Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals dealing with the improper use of jailhouse informants in Scott Evans Dekraai’s murder case. The LA Times reports...
/ March 9, 2015
Last year, we wrote about Deputy District Attorney Robert Murray of Kern County, who inserted two very incriminating lines into a defendant’s statement regarding the allegations of child molestation that were pending against him. A subsequent bar complaint against Murray is being held in abeyance according to the California State Bar website, which reports on...
/ March 5, 2015
The Commercial Appeal reports that Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich has recused her office from the prosecution of Noura Jackson, a defendant whose 2009 murder conviction was thrown out on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct. The DAG’s decision comes just days before Jackson’s first scheduled court appearance since she received a new trial. Last...
/ March 4, 2015
Disturbing allegations have surfaced in New Orleans, Louisiana this week that an investigator at the Orleans Public Defender (OPD) may have been arrested in retaliation for exposing the alleged misconduct of a prosecutor in the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office. OPD investigator Taryn Blume, through counsel, has moved to recuse District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro and...
/ March 3, 2015
The San Jose Mercury News shared a stunning revelation last Sunday when it ran a story about an ex-jailer from the Santa Clara county jail who says he “routinely” planted jailhouse informants in cells with inmates awaiting trial in order to actively extract information that could be used against them. He insists that he did...
/ February 25, 2015
In a significant development in case we wrote about last fall, a judge in Philadelphia, responding to the Commonwealth’s appeal from his order dismissing three murder indictments, and barring retrial of the defendants, has issued a carefully reasoned opinion holding that double jeopardy protection applies when prosecutors intentionally and willfully seek to undermine fair trials....
/ February 23, 2015
Linda Carty has been on death row in Texas for over a decade. She is convicted of murdering her neighbor, Joana Rodriguez, as part of a plan to abduct Rodriguez’s infant baby. New affidavits from key witnesses, made available by the Houston Chronicle, allege serious prosecutorial misconduct on the part of the state. Significantly, the...
/ February 11, 2015
In a rare act of disciplining a district attorney for serial, office-wide misconduct, the Colorado Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel (OARC) has resolved an ethics investigation into Third Judicial District DA Frank Ruybalid by placing him on twenty-three months of probation, in what amounts to a plea bargain with a sitting chief prosecutor....
/ February 1, 2015
In the wake of an extraordinary oral argument in front of a 9th Circuit panel during which Judge Alex Kozinski suggested a prosecutor be tried for perjury and threatened to name state officials in an opinion that would “not be pretty,” the office of California Attorney General Kamala Harris has filed a motion dropping the...
/ January 26, 2015
Despite harsh language from the Sixth Circuit for a Hamilton County prosecutor who committed “flagrant” and “severe” misconduct, two recent reversals in a 1992 Ohio murder case have not received much media attention. Yet Gumm v. Mitchell is noteworthy for the Sixth Circuit’s withering criticism of the prosecution in the case, which suppressed a wealth...
/ January 22, 2015
In an opinion remarkable for its forthright criticism of a prosecutor’s “demeaning and belligerent” conduct toward a pro se defendant, the Supreme Court of Delaware has overturned the conviction and death sentence of a Kent County man for a 2010 murder in a bowling alley parking lot in Dover. Twenty-seven year old Isaiah McCoy chose...
/ January 15, 2015
In a case that adds yet another variant to the proliferation of news reports of people released after decades of prison owing to prosecutorial misconduct, a Philadelphia man serving life without parole has been released after 43 years, in an apparent attempt by prosecutors to forestall what could have been a judicial order for his...