The Open File Blog
/ September 16, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Grits for Breakfast recently posted on a Dallas murder case with a strong prosecutorial misconduct claim that prosecutors knowingly presented false evidence. State informants testified at trial that they received nothing in exchange for their testimony that they heard the defendants in the case confess to the crime. But letters they wrote suggested otherwise: that...
/ September 14, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Last Tuesday, Stephen Lemons at the Phoenix New Times Blog noted that Bill Montgomery’s office had hired a former FBI agent with a troublesome record of making outlandish comments about Muslim extremists to teach local law enforcement on how to recognize potential terrorist threats. Lemons wrote: Guandolo is a controversial figure whose conspiracy-minded statements and...
/ September 8, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Northwestern Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions (CWC) reports that Jamie Lee Peterson has been exonerated following a long battle to have DNA testing done in his case, the results of which point to another killer. Questionable police interrogation practices led to Peterson’s giving a false confession, and the state used the confession to prosecute...
/ September 3, 2014 1 COMMENTS
The murder case which inspired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to suggest that such a crime made it “hard to argue against lethal injection,” and which the North Carolina Republican Party used to accuse a Democrat of being soft on crime in 2010 has ended with the DNA exoneration of two men and a...
/ September 1, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro gave a press conference on August 19 announcing his re-election campaign. According to John Simerman of the New Orleans Advocate, Cannizzaro claimed that his office has improved integrity and fairness in the criminal justice system and announced a new Conviction Integrity Unit, of the sort that has been popping...
/ August 28, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Update – August 28, 2014 Former Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office investigator Don Ashley has continued to pursue a wrongful termination suit against his former employer, District Attorney Charles Scott, since he was fired following the events outlined in our original post below. The case is slated for trial on September 23, 2014. Ashley’s lawsuit...
/ August 27, 2014 0 COMMENTS
A former Assistant Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney who his now at the Kentucky Attorney General’s office and who withheld exculpatory evidence in a murder case is under scrutiny again following allegations that he used his prosecutorial power to bully a witness in that same case. By the admission of his own former office, prosecutor Tom Van De...
/ August 25, 2014 0 COMMENTS
Update – August 27, 2014 A subsequent article on the Jackson ruling (see original post below) has revealed an important new detail about District Attorney General Amy Weirich’s record. According to Bill Dries at the Memphis Daily News,  it seems that two of the Court of Criminal Appeals precedents that Weirich violated in Jackson were other cases...
/ August 21, 2014 3 COMMENTS
Evidence that prosecutors improperly kept from grand juries in a Maricopa County murder case has led to the acquittals and dismissals of all charges in the case, which went to trial earlier this month. Michael Kiefer, who wrote a terrific four-part series on prosecutorial misconduct in Arizona last year, reported this morning for the Arizona Republic...
/ 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...