In the US District Court in Massachusetts, Assistant US Attorney Suzanne Sullivan is asking Judge Mark L. Wolf not to impose sanctions on her for withholding evidence in a Massachusetts gun case. The federal prosecutor says that she made a mistake when she did not introducing the evidence and she is asking for leniency. The evidence that she withheld could have cleared the defendant.
The federal prosecutor failed to reveal that the testimony that a Boston cop provided at a pretrial hearing contradicted what the office had told her numerous times. It was Judge Wolf who discovered that evidence had been withheld. In January, the judge dismissed the gun charges against Darwin E Jones, who was arrested in the 2007 Boston gun case, and a tentative plea agreement has been reached over Massachusetts drug charges filed against Jones.
Wolf says he is evaluating several sanctions that he could impose against Sullivan. Sanctions could include a fine and/or an order that she and all 90 prosecutors in her office undergo training regarding their constitutional obligation to not withhold this type of evidence.
Wolf says he doesn’t think Sullivan didn’t deliberately intend to not share the evidence but that she withheld the information is an act of reckless disregard and ignorance that is unpardonable. He says that prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office tend to exhibit a pattern of withholding evidence.
The judge has asked US Attorney General Eric H. Holder to take action against prosecutors that neglect to share certain information that could set defendants free. Wolf notes that the Boston office has a history of committing violations that are “intentional and inadvertent.” His letter to Holder, dated April 23rd, noted not just Sullivan’s error but also Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn’s misconduct against Vinnie Ferrrara and mistakes made during the Bulger era.
Prosecutorial misconduct can adversely affect a defendant’s case. In certain cases, a person might have been exonerated if only the prosecutor hadn’t engaged in some form of misconduct. An experienced Boston criminal defense law firm can protect you from such misconduct and do everything possible to ensure the best outcome for your Massachusetts criminal case.
Some Examples of Prosecutorial Misconduct:
• Introducing inadmissible evidence in a case • Discriminating against jurors because of their gender or ethnicity
• Mischaracterizing evidence of facts • Withholding evidence • Tampering with evidence • Destroying evidence • Witness tampering • Issuing improper public statements about a suspect/defendant or a criminal case.
Federal prosecutor admits mistake, begs for leniency, Boston Globe, May 12, 2009
Mark Wolf not sheepish about exposing court misconduct, Boston Herald, April 29, 2009
Prosecutorial Misconduct, Justice Works
Related Web Resources:
Chief Judge Blasts US Attorney Over ‘Egregious Failure’ to Disclose, ABA Journal, January 27, 2009
United States Department of Justice
Contact our Boston criminal defense law firm today.