The Open File Blog
/ August 1, 2014 2 COMMENTS
The Pinal County Attorney’s office has been removed from a death penalty case after knowingly violating a court order that kept records under seal (i.e. not a matter of public record). In a 9 page order granting a defense motion to disqualify the Pinal County Attorney’s office from prosecuting capital defendant Richard Wilson, issued on...
/ 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
A former assistant prosecutor from Butler County, OH initially faced felony charges following accusations that he altered grand jury records to approve of charges against defendants that grand juries never heard, as well as disciplinary proceedings for withholding witness statements in an alleged sex crime case. He has since pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge...
/ 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...
/ July 7, 2014 0 COMMENTS
A terrific development out of Texas this morning reveals that the State Bar has found just cause to pursue disciplinary action against the man who prosecuted death row exoneree Anthony Graves, former Burleson County District Attorney Charles J. Sebesta, Jr. In a press release obtained by The Open File, the Texas Defender Service reports that...
/ July 5, 2014 0 COMMENTS
A June story about a woman who was criminally charged for leaving her young song in a car for a short time called “The Day I Left my Son in the Car” from Salon has been trending for weeks, especially due to links from and discussion on parenting sites. In the Salon story, the decision to...
/ July 3, 2014 1 COMMENTS
Matt Kaiser at Above the Law has a terrific post titled, “White Collar Trials, Snitches, And Telling The Truth” from early June on the use of jailhouse informants or “snitches” in federal court, and how the government benefits from their incentivized testimony. We’ve published a slice of the piece below, but it’s worth reading the...
/ July 2, 2014 0 COMMENTS
A recent discovery revealed that Chicago police have been warehousing thousands of homicide files dating back to the 1940′s, likely in violation of their own departmental policies and the law. The undisclosed files could potentially implicate a huge number of cases where Brady violations may have occurred. The existence of around 19 cabinets of files...
/ June 30, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Ricochets from the 2012 online commenting scandal that implicated former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s top prosecutors continue to be felt in New Orleans this month with a federal judge sending the case of Rennee Gill Pratt back to court for an evidentiary hearing. The hearing is to examine whether online comments made by federal prosecutors...
/ June 25, 2014 1 COMMENTS
The Texas Office of the Attorney General has unsuccessfully argued that a lawsuit filed against it should not proceed because the whistleblower bringing the case did not follow proper procedure. The OAG alleged that whistleblower Ginger Weatherspoon should not be protected under the Texas Whistleblower Act because she only reported the violations of criminal law...