United States Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, was selected as the worst prosecutor out of 10 in the nation in 2007 for his involvement in the firings of nine U.S. Attorneys and the politicization of the Justice Department. At a close second, Texas ex-prosecutor Terry D. McEachern, who is best known for seeking unlawful cocaine possession charges against the African-American community of Tulia, Texas, and withholding exculpatory evidence. Next selected, former North Carolina D.A. Michael Nifong, for the widely-publicized debacle in the rape prosecution of Duke Lacrosse players causing his disbarment for having engaged in dishonesty, fraud, and withholding exculpatory information.
While a prosecutor’s job is to seek justice, there have been numerous instances in U.S history where federal and state prosecutors have engaged in unethical conduct simply to secure a conviction where otherwise not possible if they had played “by the rules.” The “Ten Worst Prosecutors” list carefully researched and produced by the Bennett Law Firm (BLF) in Houston, Texas, features a handful of recent occurrences where federal and state prosecutors did not play “by the rules” with respect to evidence in criminal trials and ruined the lives of innocent people to further their own professional careers.
The BLF and the “Bad Prosecutor Blog” website (visit: http://bennettlawfirm. typepad.com/badprosecutors) chose to recognize the ten worst prosecutors in the United States in 2007 to bring about an open discussion of prevalent prosecutorial misconduct, and most importantly, to stress the importance of holding bad prosecutors accountable for their unlawful indiscretions. For over thirty years, the BLF has been involved in criminal, civil, and administrative investigation. BLF Attorney Robert S. “Bob” Bennett, a former federal prosecutor, has been qualified as an expert on prosecutorial abuse and prosecutorial recusal. Mr. Bennett has also published numerous articles and has given countless speeches on these topics.
Prosecutorial misconduct ranges from hiding, destroying, or tampering with evidence, case files or court records; failing to disclose exculpatory evidence; using false or misleading evidence during trial; to improper behavior during grand jury proceedings. The BLF’s “Ten Worst” list exposes the harsh reality that bad prosecutors are not always disciplined for such misconduct and, in most cases, continue practicing law without missing a beat. The BLF and the website strongly believe that the list will heighten public awareness and, in turn, help curb unjust prosecutions and deter future prosecutorial misconduct.
Other bad prosecutors selected for the BLF “Ten Worst” list include the likes of Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti, Jr., Massachusetts Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn, Georgia Prosecutor David McDade, Oklahoma D.A. Bill Peterson, L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, and Texas licensed attorneys: Charles Sebesta and Randall W. Reynolds.
Foti’s persistence in attempting to prosecute a doctor and two nurses after hurricane Katrina and making extrajudicial statements surrounding their guilt have secured him a spot on the BLF’s “Ten Worst” list. Auerhahn’s blatant disregard for the constitutional rights of an innocent man which resulted in a 22 year sentence and 13 years behind bars before it was ever discovered has earned him a listing as well. McDade was selected for overzealously prosecuting a 17-year-old over oral sex with a consenting 15-year-old girl under an archaic loophole in Georgia law (which has now been abolished) and for distributing a video of the sexual encounter in violation of federal child pornography laws.
Also selected was prosecutor Bill Peterson for inspiring John Grisham to write a novel about his vigorous yet erroneous prosecution and conviction of Ron Williamson for capital murder in 1988 on weak physical evidence and jailhouse informants. Last, but certainly not least, the list includes the Harvard-educated L.A. City Attorney, Rocky Delgadillo, who is best known for prosecuting famed Paris Hilton and publicly admitting that he misused public resources by negligently allowing his accident-prone wife to use a city vehicle for personal errands resulting $1,200 of damage and then letting taxpayers foot the bill, all the while complaining about a two-tiered judicial system that gives “special treatment” to the privileged.
If you would like to obtain a copy of the BLF’s “Ten Worst Prosecutors” Article, please visit http://bennettlawfirm.typepad.com/badprosecutors or contact Scott Chauveaux at 713-225-6000; e-mail Schauveaux@bennettlawfirm.com. To contact BLF Attorney Bob Bennett, visit: www.bennettlawfirm.com or email Bbennett@bennettlawfirm.com.