Bad Prosecutor

Skelly sometimes posts "Bad PD" stories. Unfortunately, prosecutors don't always get the press they deserve. So, send me your bad prosecutor articles, and, when I've got nothing better to write about, I'll post them.

Here's a good juicy one to get us started:
Drugs Cause Ex-Mo. Prosecutor's Downfall


  1. Happened here a few weeks back. My post here and the news story here. I think he's applying for accelerated rehabilitation.

  2. Dude, have I got a story for you! It's about a prosecutor who suppressed and lied about evidence, was caught red-handed doing it, but managed to get a guy executed despite these crimes, and now sits as a trial court judge in a nearby U.S. city. You think this sounds too incredible to be true, but it's all well-documented. I just have to find my notes...

    I know it sounds like I'm making this up, but I'm not. I'll get back to you...

  3. Not exactly on point but close - There's an article in today's Washington Post about a police officer who was arrested not once, but twice in one day for driving drunk (.29). He was a spokesperson for a drunk driving prevention initiative and has had one or two brothers killed as a result of drunk drivers.

  4. Good idea. Let's not limit this to bad prosecutors. Bad cops make good stories too.

    I will go look into all of this.

  5. Heh, I got one more.

    Did you hear about the prosecutor who was suspended for abusing a public defender in court and then, while on suspension, started representing criminal defendants?

  6. Here are a couple of bad prosecutors from Tom Lincoln of Macondo Law.

    I'd write more, but I have to finish watching "Legally Blonde."

  7. I think you and your commenters have lost perspective. I understand the schadenfreude you derive in the "bad prosecutor" situations, but you seem to ignore one thing: most of your clients are guilty.

    The harm done by the few crooked prosecutors pales beside the harm done daily by the people you work to free.

    I'm a lawyer. I like our system. I'm glad defense counsel exist. But you're fooling yourselves to think you are usually the ones on the side of justice.

  8. WOOHOO! Them's fightin' words, my friend. Here's yer whiskey. Where's my shotgun?

    I've started to babble on and on here but instead I'll take it on over to my side of town and rant about the "you're fooling yourselves if you think you're on the side of justice." Please come on by.

  9. womanofthelaw,

    I'd love to join you, but I can't find the bar. Where are you? (URL?)


  10. Carpundit,

    It seems that you will admit that if most PD clients are guilty, then at least some are not guilty. PD's have to zealously represent them all as they don't often know which are the guilty. Besides, even the guilty are entitled to have their rights protected as provided by the law. I'm not a PD but I do some criminal defense and I always tell people that I practice on the guilty so I'll know what to do to help the not guilty.

    You also comment that PD's work to free their clients. In fact, I think that most of the time they work to help them through the system, to protect their rights and to keep the prosecution honest.

    I think there are bad apples on both sides of the line -- time usually sorts them out. Again I'm not a PD, and I get no Schadenfreud when the stinkers are revealed on either side of the line.

    CP, nice site by the way.

  11. Zerin Hood,

    I agree with your comment entirely. I merely object to the tendency of many in the defense bar to think of themselves as saviors of the downtrodden, or heroes in the fight against oppression, while portraying the prosecutors as heartless agents of an oppressive government out to screw the little guy. I object to that tendency 'cause it ain't usually so.



    Ok, so prosecutors don't walk into court thinking, "How can I be evil today?" But I don't think that pointing out bad seeds in the criminal system means that we've lost perspective. Blondie was complementing the "Bad PD" posts over on another blog with the "bad prosecutor / cop" posts. And there are bad ones, and they aren't hard to come by. The fact that clients might be guilty doesn't mean that they deserve bad trials, or that if they're guilty, then errors or bad judgment on the part of the cops or prosecutors should be overlooked (although it often is).

    I'd agree that public defenders look at themselves as individuals fighting the oppressor for the rights of the downtrodden. Why is that a bad thing? Prosecutors are fighting to get bad guys in jail, and public defenders fight them right back. That's how the game goes. Everyone in the system serves a different purpose and has a different perspective, and without that, the system falls apart completely.

  13. The deeper problem that I see, is classifying our clients as "bad people".

    They're not, really. Not all of them. And not all of the time.

    A whole bunch of them are just idiots, children and idiots. Sure, there are the really rotten seeds, but few and far between.

    When one looks at the role of the defense attorney from the perspective of defending the constitution, then things become clearer.

    What people not having had contact with the criminal justice system don't realize is how damn easy it is to be arrested for something. There's a lot of talk of "overcriminalization" lately and so much of it is true. Every significant aspect of our existence is governed and controlled by laws. I'd be willing to bet that a vast majority of people today have broken some law, whether they knew it or not.

    No one should be allowed to walk around pointing fingers at people, calling them thieves and liars and robbers without having to prove it first. And we make them prove it.

  14. If anyone got the impression I was attacking Blonde, I apologize for that. That was not my intent, and certainly not in her forum (how rude).

    I was attacking the idea that there's something to celebrate in the story of a law officer gone bad.

    Of course, trials are important. Of course, innocence should be presumed. Of course, the state must prove the charges.

    Even given all that, it still matters that most of the clients are guilty and most of the cops aren't. There are some moral absolutes.

    You know, it just occured to me that those usual results might explain the pleasure some of you seem to get from DAs gone bad. When you're used to X, a little bit of Y goes a long way. So enjoy. I'll stop being a spoilsport.

  15. Glad you see it that way :)

    I certainly don't. I see it as cops who quite often get away with lying and hiding reports and changing testimony and yet having juries buy into their nonsense finally getting their comeuppance.

    Bitter and angry? Maybe. Zealous advocate of criminal defendants' rights? Always.

  16. First, let me say, I am so impressed by how everyone jumped in here before I even got a chance to come home and read my comments. I'm proud to have loyal readers.

    I just have a few thoughts to add. CP, I read your comment to say that "Some prosecutors may be crooked, but because most of your clients are guilty, the ends justify the means." That's fundamentally at odds with liking our system; we don't have a "the ends justify the means" system. I'm sure the caselaw makes this obvious. A dirty prosecutor doesn't further justice, he obstructs it. I certainly don't think every prosecutor is dirty (and I know how you got this from my initial post), but I think those that are should be exposed, not buried on the back page.

    I'll always welcome debate and banter in my comments, but I just don't think "But most of your clients are guilty" (and it's true, I'd say "most" is fair) gets us very far in an intelligent debate. And if most of my clients are guilty, so what? Most of my clients are guilty and... therefore, those charged with upholding the law should feel free to break it? ...and when they do, no one should comment on it? Nah, I'm not buying that.

    As for schadenfreude, I truly believe that when a prosecutor does something bad, it gets ignored by the press or isn't reported at all. But when it's a prosecutor who is the accused criminal (and, by your logic is "probably guilty") why should they be given an added protection because of their job title? Where, for example, a prosecutor is arrested for shoplifting, they should be held more accountable because they absolutely should "know better," and certainly have the means to support themselves without resorting to crime.

    I think a story like that, or like the one that I linked to in this post, where a former prosecutor became addicted to drugs, goes a long way in showing that anyone can end up down on their luck or accused of a crime, and I think that's an important lesson for anyone.

    Likewise, if a prosecutor plays dirty and it means that a defendant goes free, let that be a lesson to prosecutors everywhere that you need to use your extensive resources to build a case, and not just fake one.

  17. The author of has written an excellent article. You have made your point and there is not much to argue about. It is like the following universal truth that you can not argue with: You can hold someone down, but you're going to be down with them. Thanks for the info.


    Prosecutor Erin Kuester and Trooper Troy Siems falsified evidence for personal agendas.

  19. At March 20, 2005 7:39 PM, Blonde Justice said...
    Good idea. Let's not limit this to bad prosecutors. Bad cops make good stories too.

    I hope this helps.

  20. Looking Back - Madison, Wisconsin
    Anatomy of a conflict, DA's office to police:
    No, it's not okay to have a prosecutor (Karie Cattanach) pose as a prostitute

    What follows is an item from Isthmus' Oct. 26, 2001 issue about a prostitution sting operation that involved the use of a member of the Dane County District Attorney's Office, (Assistant District Attorney Karie Cattanach) and a related memo.

    The name of the individual who received a citation has been redacted from this memo, since he was never formally charged with a crime. (By the way, this individual appears to have no previous Wisconsin arrests.)

    The Isthmus item, from Bill Lueders' "Watchdog" column
    The memo from the DA's office to the Madison Police Department

    1. The Isthmus item

    Watchdog/Bill Lueders
    'This was not a good idea'
    Police used prostitute, a telling blurring of roles

    The DA's office is too tight with police!
    "It should not have happened," says District Attorney Brian Blanchard
    July 2000,

    Dane County Assistant District Attorney Karie Cattanach pressed on with a battery and disorderly conduct trial even after the main witness admitted that statements he made to police about how the defendant had punched him--the basis for the prosecution--were false. The defendant was found not guilty, the admitted liar never charged. Defense attorney Gary Miller pegged it as an example of how the DA's office is too tight with police, whom he felt were out to get his client (see Isthmus, 8/4/00). Karie Cattanach, it turns out, would go on to become even cozier with the cops.