What a co-inky-dence!

Since the impeachment trial of Thomas Porteous is providing so many examples of unethical attorney conduct the ABA should require viewing and give CLE credit, does the full moon account for this ethical lapse or is there a C-span blackout in North Mississippi?

If anyone can pull in big bucks, it’s Tollison.  Mid-summer the grapevine was reporting  his son and law partner is a candidate for the vacant US Attorney position in the Northern District, Mississippi.  Pop Tollison, of course, represented Jackson attorney John Jones in Jones v Scruggs, the case that set off the events that resulted in the USA v Scruggs et al.

So, is it a co-inky-dence or what that this invite was issued the day before USA Today published Prosecutors’ conduct can tip justice scales?

Federal prosecutors are supposed to seek justice, not merely score convictions. But a USA TODAY investigation found that prosecutors repeatedly have violated that duty in courtrooms across the nation. The abuses have put innocent people in prison, set guilty people free and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees and sanctions.

Judges have warned for decades that misconduct by prosecutors threatens the Constitution’s promise of a fair trial. Congress in 1997 enacted a law aimed at ending such abuses.

Yet USA TODAY documented 201 criminal cases in the years that followed in which judges determined that Justice Department prosecutors — the nation’s most elite and powerful law enforcement officials — themselves violated laws or ethics rules.

In case after case during that time, judges blasted prosecutors for “flagrant” or “outrageous” misconduct. They caught some prosecutors hiding evidence, found others lying to judges and juries, and said others had broken plea bargains.

Such abuses, intentional or not, doubtless infect no more than a small fraction of the tens of thousands of criminal cases filed in the nation’s federal courts each year. But the transgressions USA TODAY identified were so serious that, in each case, judges threw out charges, overturned convictions or rebuked prosecutors for misconduct. And each has the potential to tarnish the reputation of the prosecutors who do their jobs honorably…

Unlike local prosecutors, who often toil daily in crowded courts to untangle routine burglaries and homicides, Justice Department attorneys handle many of the nation’s most complex and consequential crimes.

With help from legal experts and former prosecutors, USA TODAY spent six months examining federal prosecutors’ work, reviewing legal databases, department records and tens of thousands of pages of court filings. Although the true extent of misconduct by prosecutors will likely never be known, the assessment is the most complete yet of the scope and impact of those violations.

USA TODAY found a pattern of “serious, glaring misconduct,” said Pace University law professor Bennett Gershman, an expert on misconduct by prosecutors. “It’s systemic now, and … the system is not able to control this type of behavior. There is no accountability.”

He and Alexander Bunin, the chief federal public defender in Albany, N.Y., called the newspaper’s findings “the tip of the iceberg” because many more cases are tainted by misconduct than are found. In many cases, misconduct is exposed only because of vigilant scrutiny by defense attorneys and judges.

However frequently it happens, the consequences go to the heart of the justice system’s promise of fairness…

Among the consequences of misconduct, wrongful convictions are the most serious, said former U.S. attorney general Dick Thornburgh. He said, “No civilized society should countenance such conduct or systems that failed to prevent it.”

Even people who never spent a day in jail faced ruinous consequences: lost careers, lost savings and lost reputations. Last year, a federal appeals court wiped out Illinois businessman Charles Farinella’s 2007 conviction for changing “best when purchased by” dates on bottles of salad dressing he sold to discount stores. The judges ruled that what he had done wasn’t illegal and blasted lead prosecutor Juliet Sorensen for violations that robbed Farinella of a fair trial. Exoneration came too late to salvage his business or to help the 20 or so employees he had laid off.

“It’s the United States government against one person,” Farinella said in his first public comment on the case. “They beat you down because they are so powerful. They have trillions of dollars behind them. Even someone who’s innocent doesn’t have much of a chance”…

In a justice system that prosecutes more than 60,000 people a year, mistakes are inevitable. But the violations USA TODAY documented go beyond everyday missteps. In the worst cases, say judges, former prosecutors and others, they happen because prosecutors deliberately cut corners to win.

“There are rogue prosecutors, often motivated by personal ambition or partisan reasons,” said Thornburgh, who was attorney general under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Such people are uncommon, though, he added: “Most former federal prosecutors, like myself, are resentful of actions that bring discredit on the office.”

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18 thoughts on “What a co-inky-dence!”

  1. I’m so glad that this Post gives me the opportunity to identify specific Federally-employed . They are, without limitation: Michael Wolf of the FBI; Michael Venacore of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; U.S. Attorneys (who work for Letten) Michael Magner, Stephen Higginson and Brian Marcelle; and unnamed Federal employees of the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, the ATF&F, and the U’S. Marshall’s Service. They were ALL present when I was brought to Camp Amtrak and pepper-sprayed 30 to 40 times, and then shot @ 12 times at point-blank range with a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with bean-bag rounds, 10 of those shots being INDOORS. Have any of you ever heard a shotgun being discharged indoors? How about 10 times? These are no good cocksucking motherfuckers, and so are their BOSSES. Oh! And don’t let me forget the miscreants who are guilty of being “accessories-after-the fact” and of “misprison of a felony”: Jim Letten, Jan Maselli Mann and Sandra Guiterrez, among others. (SPIT! BARF! PISS!). Ashton O’Dwyer.

  2. Well, sop, now you have at least two bean bags begging to differ with your portrayal of the Flood of New Orleans 8/29/05 as some sort of Intellectual Actuarial. I suppose it doesn’t help that Ashton and I are in the same barrel full of voodoo dolls as bat-shit crazy that you write off as Wind Damage or Surge or Whateva The Fuck. Sit tight, because when the next “storm” comes they gonna fuck you again because you don’t know the difference between Shit and ShiNola.
    Sinn F

  3. After Federal A. J. McNamara commandeered my tort lawsuit (without my knowledge because I was Katrina-displaced) from State Court and had ordered it dismissed prior to my learning the case had even arrived there –U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office prevented McNamara from answering for McNamara’s actions and all the damages and problems he caused by keeping that case in federal court despite there was no federal subject matter jurisdiction over that lawsuit for conversion (and no diversity).

    Federal Judges McNamara and Engelhardt enabled lawyers to $$$$$ off representing Freddie Mac despite there was nothing for which to represent since Freddie never was served that lawsuit, nor was there any waiver of service. Then there were rulings in favor of non-party Freddie Mac — the U.S. Attorneys office disregarded those incidental matters of Due Process and civil procedure. But the horrors I suffered from federal court is the real injury!!!!

    Letten’s office seems to always cover for federal judges as much as possible, it’s part of the

  4. I forgot to mention that McNamara, rescinded his dismissal after my surprise visit to New Orleans to file a default judgment motion in state court led me to learn the case was not there anymore. (Most likely, that dismissal would have remained a done deal, so I’d have the expense of appeals and the lawyers the delight of more $$$ and round and round again. Things wound up that way –as to be expected.) After rescinding, he dismissed it again, because HE FELT LIKE IT.

  5. In the midst of all this interesting discussion, it appears the questioned conduct of north Mississippi attorneys has been overlooked. Just pointing that out…

  6. Presumedly this post’s subject matter is about prosecutorial misconduct, so my questions are:

    1) Can anyone tell me under what legal precedent the “little black book” and FBI tapes used as evidence in the Canal Street Brothel Case are still being withheld at the request of US Attorney’s Office ?

    2) What policy allows a US Attorney to ethically and/or legally enter into an agreement with any party, including a Judge, to withhold (seal) evidence in a public trial of a criminal proceeding ?

    3) Under what Federal law, substantive or procedural, does a prosecutor have the right to suppress the public disclosure of evidence, any evidence, used to prosecute an individual in the US Courts ?

    4) Has any of the Federal Public Records Law been violated by the US Attorney’s office by it’s failure to produce the “little black book” and FBI tapes ?

    5) Did the US Attorney’s, in his failure and/or refusal to prosecute the JOHNS, commit the crime of Misprision of a Felony ?

    To preface context for the questions I have posed above, I am citing just a few of the excerpts from an article written about the facts surrounding the Canal Street Brothel Case:

    By Chuck Hustmyre. 2010

    “Although the FBI investigation had identified hundreds of the brothel’s exclusively male clients, their names were conspicuously absent from the indictment.” (none of the JOHNS were prosecuted)

    “When reporters, hungry for salacious details, tried to get their hands on the client list–rumored to contain the names of some of the wealthiest and most powerful men in New Orleans–U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle, the federal judge hearing the case, sealed the court records.” (Lemell is still lying about these records having been made public)

    “It was an interesting move that made a lot of people suspicious,” says Laurie White, a New Orleans defense attorney who represented Joanne Hansen, one of the women slapped with conspiracy and racketeering charges. “I didn’t see any reason for it except to protect the guilty.” As an attorney in the case, White did manage to get her hands on the list, and after looking at it, she realized that federal prosecutors were probably scared to go after many of the people on the list, which included some of New Orleans’ best-known doctors, lawyers, business owners, and athletes. (White is a Judge now…I’ll bet those same people were scared not to support you for Judge)

    “When asked if he thought that pressure from the brothel’s high-placed customers forced federal prosecutors to dismiss most of the charges, an FBI agent who worked on the investigation said, “Who the hell knows? You’d like to think not, but you can never tell.” (no where to be found)

    “Asked if the idea of making enemies of all of those rich and powerful men makes her fear for her life, Jeanette just shakes her head and smiles. “I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid the guy at the funeral home is going to have sex with me and not pay me for it.”(if Ms. Meier can handle it… I’m not afraid either…we can handle it too)

    I would suggest that there are other laws such as Obstruction of Justice, Criminal Conspiracy, etc to be found applicable in conjunction with those mentioned above to argue a case of prosecutorial misconduct. So the question remains :

    So tell me again… why can’t we read the ‘LITTLE BLACK BOOK” and hear the 5000 hours of FBI tapes ?

  7. To Whitmergate: You raise a lot of interesting questions. I want to address one: “Misprison of a felony”, which is the crime to which Zach Scruggs pleaded guilty, and which he is trying to have set aside. When “the Johns” (whoever they are) frequented “The Canal Street Brothel”, prostitution and soliciting for prostitution were misdemeanors. The exception was if the John asked the whore for a “blow job”, which under the law is (at least at that time) “a crime against nature”, and a FELONY OFFENSE rather than a misdemeanor. So as much as I HATE Letten and his colleagues, and would like to see them anally raped in prison by fellow-inmates who are infected with sexually-transmitted diseases, Letten is liable to “misprison of a felony” only for not prosecuting “Johns” who solicited blow jobs from the whores on Canal Street. (This communication is not to be construed as a “directive” to any inmate in a penal institution to annally rape any employee of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, no matter how forcefully they might “BEG” for it). Ashton O’Dwyer.

  8. IMHO:

    Ashton your point about felonious “blow jobs” is well taken. So I will state again that the US Attorney is most probably guilty of Misprision of a Felony based on my research from years ago.

    It is a fact that men, and particularly married men, are obsessed with blow jobs; and that’s normal. Years ago when among a group of guys the topic of sexual behavior would invariably come up (no pun intended). For our amusement, I would take a survey on the topic of blow jobs; I asked two simple questions of the married men:

    1) Did your wife… prior to marriage…perform fallacio ? If there were 5 married men asked, all 5 would answer yes.

    2) Assuming you have the same wife as in question No. 1, does she give you a blow job since you were married ? For the most part, 4 would answer no, and the lucky 1 would answer yes.

    Based upon the research I have done in the past (albeit social and not scientific), and similar conversations I have had throughout conversations with men into the present, I would suggest that the vast majority of JOHNS asked for a blow job and received the same. And, accordingly would have been subject to being prosecuted under the law “crimes against nature” you cited as a felony offense, given such a law was contemporaneous in time to the Canal Street Brothel case.

    As to anal punishment I have no opinion.

    Enough said.

  9. And as the “joke” goes: Why does the bride smile as she says, “I do.”? Because she knows that she’ll never have to give another “blow job”, at least for the remainder of her married life. Do you think that the “black book” documents the sexual propensities and proclivities of “the Johns”? Ashton O’Dwyer.

  10. Whittmer and Ashton–All of this is hard to swallow!

    The only thing that sticks in my throat is how Julie could have possibly been issued a permit to carry a hand gun in the first place.

    Did she take the course or did she simply make the call. Certainly her instructor prior to handing over the gun permit must have told her to never display a loaded hand gun in public, much less a loaded hand gun with the safety device off.

    Let’s see the application and actual training she took before being certified! Bet it does not exist.

    I heard “bitch boy” John wet himself when he heard the noise and ran to hide under a table.

  11. Foreclosure fraud is a NATIONWIDE scourge; and it is easy to prove here in Louisiana. Some people entangled with Freddie Mac and Wells Fargo in fraudulent foreclosures are FORECLOSURE MILLS Dean Morris Law Firm and Herschel C. Adcock, Jr., firms

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