The Open File Blog
/ August 18, 2014 0 COMMENTS
A serial murderer and his girlfriend who initially faced the death penalty have been allowed to plea their cases out following revelations that the government committed discovery violations and secretly intercepted communications between defendant Joey Pedersen and his attorneys. According to the judge who oversaw the cases, Pedersen and his co-defendant were able to use...
/ August 13, 2014 1 COMMENTS
In January we wrote about an incident in Kern County, California, where a prosecutor added lines to a transcript in order to make it look like the defendant in a criminal case had admitted guilt in a statement: A Kern County judge has thrown out all child molestation charges against a defendant who was facing...
/ August 11, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle and Radley Balko of the Washington Post have exposed a disturbing trend in the selection of grand jurors in Harris County, Texas. Falkenberg has also reported on the troublesome manner in which one of those grand juries operated, interrogating and intimidating a key witness in a murder case. On...
/ August 10, 2014 0 COMMENTS
According to an August 4 article by Yazhou Sun for Good Morning America, David McEachran, a 10-term district attorney out of Bellingham, Washington State, will face off with a pet dog for Whatcom County prosecutor in the next election. The dog’s owner, Frank James, thinks it’s time that someone ran against McEachran to ensure accountability in...
/ August 8, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Incumbent Republican Amy Weirich defeated Democratic challenger Joe Brown in her bid for reelection to the post of District Attorney General of Shelby County on Thursday, August 7. Weirich got into hot water earlier this year when she downplayed state bar and judicial findings of prosecutorial misconduct against one of her veteran prosecutors, Tom Henderson,...
/ August 5, 2014 4 COMMENTS
Update 8.5.2014 The issues around unethical conduct raised in the Wilson case (discussed below) may run deep in the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, according to a new piece by Sean Holstege for the Arizona Republic. Holstege covers yet another instance where the actions of the County Attorney’s staff in a death penalty case led to problems for...
/ August 4, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Two weeks ago the Houston Chronicle broke the news that Texas lawyers, along with the New York-based Innocence Project, filed a bar complaint against former Navarro County prosecutor John Jackson for his role in the now-infamous death penalty case of Cameron Todd Willingham. Willingham’s case was given national exposure by David Grann in a 2009...
/ July 29, 2014 5 COMMENTS
Update – July 29, 2014 More withheld information has been discovered by defense attorneys, according to reports by Jason Riley at WDRB. Last week, Dejuan Hammond’s lawyers filed 44 pages of evidence in court asserting that much of it was “undeniably exculpatory”. Riley reports: “This is the third time this year that the defense has found...
/ July 28, 2014 0 COMMENTS
A newly released opinion from the Connecticut Supreme Court provides yet another example of what the Connecticut Law Tribune characterizes as the failures of higher courts in Connecticut to adequately rebuke prosecutorial misconduct. In an editorial last year, the Tribune wrote that by routinely finding harmless error in cases where prosecutors have violated their ethical...
/ July 25, 2014 0 COMMENTS
“Prosecutorial misconduct is far too common in Marion County,” writes Indiana University law professor Joel Schumm in a recent post for Indiana Law Blog, “…what is lost in the Ryan opinion — and most other opinions involving prosecutorial misconduct — is whether the reviewing court is even concerned or troubled by the prosecutor’s conduct or...
/ July 22, 2014 0 COMMENTS
A former Davis County prosecutor who was fired for tainting a witness identification in a robbery case and attempting to cover it up at trial has been suspended from practicing law for 7 months. The prosecutor, Tyler James Larsen, performed an inappropriate photo line-up and then failed to correct a witness’s false testimony about the line-up...
/ July 21, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Update 8.1.2014 The Journal-News has posted an update to this story that describes a hearing before the Ohio Supreme Court Board of Commissioners on Grievance and Discipline in which a former prosecutor facing allegations of misconduct (see below) delivered his version of events. Read about the hearing here. Original Post A former assistant prosecutor from Butler...
/ July 16, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Two civil cases have been resolved in which wrongdoing was alleged against prosecutors for murder convictions that were later overturned on the back of prosecutorial misconduct. Michael Hash of Virginia reached an agreement with the prosecutor and sheriff he sued in his wrongful conviction on July 1, 2014. Jabbar Collins of New York settled his...
/ July 14, 2014 0 COMMENTS
A terrific opinion editorial from Louisiana exoneree Shareef Cousin, who’s case is featured on our New Orleans page here, was posted on CNN.com yesterday. Cousin’s editorial discusses the way prosecutors railroaded him onto death row by withholding favorable evidence in his case, and coincides with the return of “Death Row Stories” on CNN which began last...
/ July 8, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Orange County, which has sentenced the third largest number of people to death of any county in California over the last five years, is under scrutiny following revelations of a “snitch network” used by county prosecutors in murder cases. Defendants now allege that information about jailhouse informants relied on by the state has been suppressed...