Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Who Is To Blame In Stevens Case?

Apparently, there is plenty of blame to go around. The NYTimes story from this morning mentions several possibilities. Prosecutorial misconduct knows many fathers. First, there are the attorneys themselves. Did they forget about Brady v. Maryland? Did they take Criminal Procedure in law school?

Next, there are the supervising attorneys, the top attorney-managers of the Public Integrity Division of the DOJ. By letting their subordinates act without supervision, they compounded the problem

Finally, there is the AG himself, Michael Mukasey. Ultimately everything your employees do comes back to the head of the organization. In this case, of course, it looks like Mukasey didn't bother to answer inquiries from head defense counsel, Brendan Sullivan. This was a real mistake. Anyone with a sense of history will remember Sullivan at the Oliver North hearings where he lost his temper and made the now famous "I am not a potted plant" statement. It can be dangerous not to respond to attorneys like Sullivan.

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