A secret special prosecutor wielding “kitchen-sink” subpoenas takes aim at persons and groups who supported Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in his recent showdown with public employee unions. “The probe began in the office of Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, though no one will publicly claim credit for appointing Mr. Schmitz, the special prosecutor. The investigation is taking place under Wisconsin’s John Doe law, which bars a subpoena’s targets from disclosing its contents to anyone but his attorneys. … [Wisconsin Club for Growth director Eric O'Keefe] adds that at least three of the targets had their homes raided at dawn, with law-enforcement officers turning over belongings to seize computers and files.” [WSJ "Review and Outlook"]
“Citing the ‘grotesque’ misconduct of federal prosecutors, a judge on Tuesday granted a new trial for five former New Orleans Police Department officers convicted in the deadly shootings at the Danziger Bridge after Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent cover-up.” [Juliet Linderman, New Orleans Times-Picayune, embedded PDF; earlier here, here, etc.]
More: J. Christian Adams (why no consequences for supervisor in Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division?), Stephen Gillers.
The Massachusetts attorney general is now running for governor of the state after losing a Senate run three and a half years ago, so this makes a good occasion to revamp a 2010 post slightly so as to remind readers of Coakley’s central role in the Amirault travesty of justice, described so well by Dorothy Rabinowitz here. Earlier on the Amirault case here and here; on Coakley’s prosecutorial record here. More: John Stossel and (via Memeorandum): Bronwyn’s Harbor, No Quarter (citing views of Jeralyn Merritt/TalkLeft); Dan McLaughlin, RedState; Dan Riehl (Woodward, Souza cases). Yet more: on Coakley’s offer to a deal to one defendant on condition that the experienced defense counsel handling the deal agree not to represent a second defendant in future, see Scott Greenfield (characterizing the move as “a deliberate effort to undermine the constitutional right to counsel”), Kenneth Anderson/Volokh, and John Steele/Legal Ethics Forum. In 2010 we wondered whether Coakley’s Senate-race nosedive under critical public and press scrutiny amounted to the first time a Massachusetts prosecutor had paid a price for being wrong in the Amirault episode.
Taxpayers of the Arizona county are shelling out millions in settlements to compensate victims of the systematic abuses committed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and D.A. Andrew Thomas. The latest settlement, $1.4 million, was to a developer whose office was ransacked as part of a series of raids conducted against Arpaio’s and Thomas’s political enemies, purportedly in search of evidence of political corruption. “Thomas was disbarred for his actions last year, but Arpaio was re-elected to a sixth term as sheriff in November.” When organized lawyers display higher ethical standards than an electorate, I’m not sure it reflects well on the electorate. [Aaron Kase, Lawyers.com, Phoenix New Times; earlier on Arpaio and on Thomas]
If Alan Dershowitz’s accusations are to be believed, the Florida prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case behaved in grossly unprofessional fashion. [Jacksonville.com "The Gavel," more, Jeralyn Merritt/TalkLeft]
Brian Banks served more than five years in prison after an old friend “falsely accused him of attacking her on their high school campus”:
In a strange turn of events, the woman, Wanetta Gibson, friended him on Facebook when he got out of prison.
In an initial meeting with him, she said she had lied; there had been no kidnap and no rape and she offered to help him clear his record, court records state.
But she refused to repeat the story to prosecutors because she feared she would have to return a $1.5 million payment from a civil suit brought by her mother against Long Beach schools….
It was uncertain Thursday whether Gibson will have to return the money.
[AP via Balko, Volokh; & welcome Reddit readers]
Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, high-profile Brooklyn sex crimes prosecutor Lauren Hersh has resigned following a furor over a sex trafficking case in which “prosecutors had held on to documents showing the victim recanted rape allegations one day after making them.” [NY Post, more] P.S. Daniel Fisher reminds us of Hersh’s “starring role in New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s expose of Backpage, the Village Voice’s online personals section.”
Former Maricopa County, Arizona state’s attorney and frequent Overlawyered mentionee Andrew Thomas now faces disbarment for misdeeds that include launching unfounded prosecutions of local officials who had criticized him [Terry Carter, ABA Journal] The latest ABA Journal headline is an instant classic: “Defiant After Disbarment Ruling, Ex-Maricopa Attorney Andrew Thomas Compares Himself to Gandhi”