Prosecutors’ Misconduct Is More Than Just ‘Honest Mistakes’


A federal judge in the District of Columbia recently ruled that the U.S. Department of Justice will be allowed to retry star pitcher Roger Clemens on perjury charges after a mistrial was declared earlier this summer when the prosecution made reference to inadmissible evidence in open court.

The government claimed that its violation of court orders was done inadvertently and was not an instance of intentional prosecutorial misconduct. Government examples of misconduct seem to abound these days. We recently wrote about the Lindsey Manufacturing case under the FCPA and about the Lazare Kobayaga case, a genocide case, in which it was clear that traditional discovery standards were not followed.

It is curious to us that Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer recently told a group of assembled state prosecutors that although prosecutors must always abide by the highest standards of conduct, “certain defense lawyers nevertheless continue to want to try and turn honest mistakes into instances of misconduct. This kind of gamesmanship is unfortunate.”

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