Nominees needed for 10 Worst U.S. Prosecutors for 2008


I was searching for like-minded souls one night several months ago when I stumbled upon the “good” prosecutors at Bad Prosecutors. I felt right at home when I read this statement :

Welcome! This Blog is published by the Bennett Law Firm with Sherri Katz and Bob Bennett being principal contributors. For over thirty years, the firm has been involved in criminal, civil, and administrative investigations. Both Sherri Katz and Bob Bennett have served in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas. They consider themselves to be “good” prosecutors with experience in both state district attorneys offices and federal prosecutors with the United States Attorney’s Office. When we see bad prosecutors or prosecutors engaged in bad acts, we see a need to speak out and let the world know of our protestations and anger. Maybe you feel the same? If so, we hope you will share with us and others what bad prosecutors and bad prosecutorial acts the world needs to know about. Thru notoriety, recusals, and even disbarments, we hope to bring to justice to what some bad prosecutors do. (Emphasis supplied.)

Mr. Bennett is a partner with the Bennett Law Firm, L.L.P., which is

… the largest law firm in Texas that specializes in representing members of the legal profession in grievance matters and other professional concerns. Robert Bennett has represented lawyers before the Grievance or “Just Cause” in every part of the state in the last ten (10) years. Depending on the allegations brought by the State Bar Commission, he has generally been able to meet the expectations of his clients and negotiated a resolution that is acceptable.

Yesterday, Bob Bennett honored my blog with this comment asking for help in preparing his 10 Worst U.S. Prosecutors for 2008:

we are in the process of updating our 10 Worse Prosecutors for 2008 and would appreciate any nominations. We are looking at the prosecutors in Alabama. Any suggestions would be helpful.

I would start with Leura Canary, Stephen Feaga, Louis Franklin, Alice Martin, Richard Gregorie, Rachel Paulose and Dunn Lampton. Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions. Please also take some time to check out Bad Prosecutors.

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12 Responses

  1. did you see this, em?
    WASHINGTON: The name of the Justice Department’s former top criminal prosecutor has turned up on the U.S. government’s terror watch list.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/07/14/america/list.php

    The former assistant attorney general, Jim Robinson, joined with the American Civil Liberties Union on Monday in calling for elimination of the list, which is designed to identify suspected terrorists. Critics say the list has caused thousands of innocent people to be questioned or searched.

  2. oh crap, i put the blockquote and the url in the middle of the quote.

  3. I saw that linked, I believe, at Drudge. Since he made a terrorist watch list created by the Bush administration, I don’t think he’ll qualify for a Worst Prosecutor list.

  4. i wasn’t nominating him. just thought it was funny in the most unfunny way.

  5. i wasn’t nominating him.

    I know; just trying to make my own ‘funny’ (in my own apparently unfunny way.)

  6. I’m seconding the Malice of Alice Martin and Leura Canary.

  7. A prosecutor to watch is the one who’ll be reviewing WaPo columnist Robert Novak’s charges stemming from this incident. Witness descriptions in the article paint the picture that Novak was leaving the scene of an accident with bodily injury (a crime, quite possibly a felony) but Novak received only a ticket for failing to yield the right of way (a mere civil infraction). When I read the article, I immediately thought of the women in Texas who hit a man and drove home with the man stuck in her windshield, left to die in the woman’s garage. Based on the reports and eyewitness descriptions I’ve seen, there is more than enough evidence to warrant a thorough investigation of this incident. Whether this prosecutor should be a nominee will depend on both the extent and legitimacy of the prosecutor’s investigation (there a lot of witness interviews that need to be taken and considered) as well as the final charging decision that is eventually made.

  8. McConnel in Alaska. He’s bucking for a Judge position. Used coerced confession and withheld exculpatory DNA evidence in a rape/murder in Sitka, AK.

    Jury acquits Bingham

    ——————————————————————————–

    Jury cites lack of evidence, `weak’ police interrogation work

    ——————————————————————————–
    Last modified at 11:35 a.m. on Sunday, June 22, 1997

    ——————————————————————————–

    By SVEND HOLST
    THE JUNEAU EMPIRE Most members of the jury doubted that Richard Bingham was responsible for killing and raping 17-year-old Jessica Baggen. Most, according to interviews with several members of the panel, not only had a reasonable doubt but believe someone else did it.

    The jury of seven men and five women charged with deciding whether or not Bingham murdered Baggen acquitted him on five counts after about three hours of deliberation Friday afternoon following a two-week trial.

    They based their decision, according to interviews, largely on the lack of physical evidence linking Bingham to the May 4, 1996, crime and to what one jurist described as a “weak” videotaped police interrogation of Bingham performed 11 days after the murder.

    Bingham, a former Sheldon Jackson College janitor, was released from the Lemon Creek Correctional Center at 4:20 p.m. Friday, according to a prison official. He’d spent the last 13 months behind bars at Lemon Creek awaiting his trial.

    Assistant Public Defender Galen Paine, who was representing Bingham in the case, said Bingham spent Friday evening relaxing. She didn’t want to comment on what Bingham plans to do now that he’s free, but did say that his safety is a concern, as it is with highly publicized cases such as his.

    Whatever Bingham chooses to do, he picks from among a wider range of choices than he would have had if found guilty of the charges the state brought against him – first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree sexual assault and tampering with evidence.

    “I think he got his life back,” Paine said. “He has a future. He could have spent the rest of his life in jail.”

    Paine said the way police handled Bingham during the May 15, 1996, interrogation highlighted a “real danger” that occurs when police lose their objectivity and investigate a suspect believing he or she is guilty. The interview that resulted in what police called a confession was an example of how authorities can catch the wrong man when they want a conviction more than the truth, Paine said.

    After the verdict came in, Assistant District Attorney Dwayne McConnell, Bingham’s prosecutor, said he’d given the jury all the evidence he had.

    “The state’s case was tried as well as it could be tried by the state,” he said. “There was no more evidence than that was before the jury. I respect their decision.”

    Both McConnell and Paine said they couldn’t quantify the hours they’d spent preparing for the trial, but both said it had taken up “a lot” of their time.

    [ ]

    “We knew that was going to be rough, but that was beyond the scope of anything we could do,” Renton said.

    He and other jury members, said he was waiting for something other than the interrogation to link Bingham to the crime scene.

    “Everyone seemed to be surprised at the lack of evidence against Mr. Bingham,” he said. “All I do know is that the prosecution came up significantly short.”

    Another jurist, Frank Metcalf, said the lack of physical evidence and the witnesses who placed Bingham on a boat drinking beers at the time the murder occurred were the two most important factors in his decision. He said police shaped their interrogation of Bingham to get a “quote confession.” Given Bingham’s mental makeup, he said, they got him to say what they wanted him to.

    Metcalf was one of the many jurists who thought they were alone in believing Bingham hadn’t killed Baggen.

    “I sweated it the last week that I was the only one who saw it that way,” Metcalf said Saturday.

    During the first anonymous poll taken by the jury, all but one of them had arrived at a not-guilty verdict, jurists said, and that one indicated he or she was undecided.

    “We felt he didn’t do it,” Metcalf said. “That means the guy who did it is still out there.”

    [ ]

    “He went to the police to get help to see if he had done this thing,” she said. “He made the mistake of trusting the police. What a stupid mistake.”

    She said the state’s case consisted of a coerced, false confession with no physical evidence linking Bingham to Baggen. She also pointed to the testimony of three people who said he was drinking beer with them when the murder took place.

    “He did not do this crime,” Paine said. “Period. The end. The physical evidence shows somebody else did it.”

  9. http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/crime/story/683395.html

    A DNA Case on the way to the Supreme Court. For the accused, well he’s asked for re-examination whether it helps or not. The Ninth Circuit wants to grant this.

    Do state employed lawyers always like to create their own makework at the public expense, or is this just an EGO problem? Why not end it at the Ninth Circuit and get the test?

    ******************************************************

    The issue is fundamental: Do prisoners have a constitutional right to re-examine evidence after they are convicted?

    THE TWO SIDES

    ADVERTISEMENT

    The state’s answer: “No.”

    The state agrees that testing the condom could prove Osborne didn’t do it. But the state also says there’s so much evidence of his guilt that a new DNA test would probably just reaffirm that.

    “If there was other doubtful evidence that supported his … possible innocence, creating some sort of probability that he might be innocent, things might be different,” said Ken Rosenstein, the state’s lead lawyer on the case. “But it’s merely a wish and a prayer at this point.”

    And that’s not reason enough to call a jury verdict into question, Rosenstein said.

  10. Please check this case in Warren County OH. Prosecutor Racheal Hutzel is everything Justice is NOT! She needs to be removed! An innocent man is in jail because she indicted this young man less then 24 hours after his new bride passed from unexplainable conditions. They charged him in hopes they would find evidence and found nothing. This is a travesty of justice and needs to be exposed! Please visit FreeRyanWidmer.com – all the information is available there. PLEASE LOOK INTO IT!

    • Lori,

      Since this site limited to issues relating to attorney ethics this blog is not the proper resource for someone in Mr. Widmar’s position. What he needs is competent defense counsel. He and those supporting him need to keep searching until Mr. Widmar has appropriate counsel.

      Only then should you look for the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct (at my State Bar Links page) to see if any of the rules and comments describe the prosecutor’s conduct in the case. If so, you could then file a grievance with the state bar association but this is no substitute for having proper representation in a criminal prosecution.

  11. Jessica was a beautiful girl and came from a wonderful house hold that’s such a tragedy. She still today is very missed

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