Thursday, June 14, 2018

Amid Smirks And Mocking, An Ethics Expert Rips Frank Fina

By Ralph Cipriano
The Fox Hunting The Fina

Frank Fina did a slow burn today as a lawyer for the state Supreme Court's disciplinary board and an ethics expert wearing a bow tie took turns attacking Fina as an unethical, and overzealous prosecutor who trampled on the constitutional rights of his targets.

"This is a straight-forward case," Amelia C. Kittredge, counsel to the disciplinary board, told a panel of three lawyers who will decide whether Fina, the lead prosecutor in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case, should be disciplined or disbarred for misconduct during that secret grand jury investigation.

Frank Fina, Kittredge said, "deliberately and recklessly" violated the attorney-client privilege. It happened in 2012, when Fina questioned former Penn State counsel Cynthia Baldwin before a grand jury about confidential information involving three of her former clients who were once top officials at Penn State.

A prosecutor is not only supposed to be an advocate, Kittredge said, but he's also supposed to be a "minister of justice." But Frank Fina, she said, was an unethical lawyer who broke the most "sacred privilege" in the legal world, namely the attorney-client privilege.

In her opening statement outlining the charges against Fina, Kittredge took the disciplinary board through the time line in the case. She talked about how the year after Baldwin became Penn State's general counsel, in 2011, she got hit with three grand jury subpoenas from the state attorney general's office in the Sandusky investigation, targeting retired Penn State vice president Gary Schultz, athletic director Tim Curley, and Coach Joe Paterno.

In January 2011, Schultz and Curley testified before the grand jury on the same day, and both were represented by Baldwin, Kittredge said. Three months later,  Baldwin received a subpoena for Penn State President Graham Spanier.

There were "no protests, no qualifications," from Baldwin about any conflicts representing the three Penn State officials, Kittredge said. In November 2011, a grand jury indicted Curley and Schultz. In June 2012, Baldwin left Penn State and then she got served with a subpoena, turning her into a possible target of the investigation.

To explain away her ethical conflicts, Kittredge said, Baldwin claimed she had acted before the grand jury as "an agent of the university," and that she did not represent her former clients personally, "whatever that means," Kittredge said dispargingly.

When Frank Fina appeared before the grand jury on Oct. 22, 2012, he told Judge Barry Feudale that he wanted to call Baldwin as a witness, although he claimed he wouldn't get into any areas of questioning that would violate the attorney-client privilege. During that hearing before the judge, Kittredge said, lawyers for Curley and Schultz, Baldwin's former clients, "astoundingly" were "not present or notified."

According to Rule 3.10 of the Pennsylvania code of conduct for lawyers, Kittredge said, there should have been a hearing before a judge before Baldwin was allowed to testify.  And that instead of Fina making the call, it was a judge who should have decided whether Baldwin's testimony would violate the attorney-client privilege.

Rule 3.10 of the Rules of Professional Conduct states: "A public prosecutor or other government lawyer shall not, without prior judicial approval, subpoena an attorney to appear before a grand jury or other tribunal investigating criminal activity in circumstances where the prosecutor or other government lawyer seeks to compel the attorney/witness to provide evidence concerning a person who is or has been represented by the attorney/witness."

Instead of getting the required "prior judicial approval," Kittredge said, Fina just went ahead and did it, while misrepresenting his intentions on what he planned to question Baldwin about. Fina had told the judge that he wasn't going to mess with the attorney-client privilege, to gain any confidential information about the communication between Baldwin and her clients. But what Fina really wanted to do, Kittredge said, was to turn Baldwin into "a witness against her three clients." And that's just what he did.

"Would you ever testify in such a manner against a client," Kittridge asked the panel of lawyers on the disciplinary board. At the grand jury, Kittredge said, Baldwin used that forum to go into a "litany" of complaints against her former clients, while divulging many things that the trio of Penn State administrators had told her in confidence. The topics discussed included what the Penn State officials knew about a couple of shower incidents in 1998 and 2001 involving Jerry Sandusky lathering up with naked boys.

Baldwin also testified about discussions she had with Spanier before his interview with the attorney general's office, and what Spanier knew about the grand jury investigation of Sandusky.

"He lied to me," Kittredge quoted Baldwin as testifying before the grand jury about Spanier. "There is no doubt he lied to me," Baldwin said, adding that Spanier had prior knowledge of accusations against Sandusky, but, Baldwin said, "He tried to hide it from me."

In evoking testimony that breached the attorney-client privilege, Kittredge said, Fina "hoodwinked Judge Feudale" while Baldwin abandoned and betrayed her former clients.

Fina's defense, that Baldwin didn't really represent her former clients, only the university, amounted to "smoke," Kittredge said. Lame attempts "to shore up the defense," and cover up for Fina's "reckless and deceptive" conduct.

At the defense table, Fina, his head bowed, confined his comments to whispers shared with his lawyers. Meanwhile, Baldwin, who is a witness in the case on behalf of Fina, was asked to leave the courtroom before today's proceedings started.

In his opening statement, Dennis C. McAndrews, on behalf of Fina, asserted that the disciplinary board's case amounted to a lot of opinions and a "cherry-picking" of the facts, in an attempt to destroy Fina's "professional life."

Two judges, McAndrews said, on seven different occasions "approved his [Fina's] conduct." And  Judge Feudale, "by permitting" the questioning of Baldwin to "go forward," basically amounted to holding a hearing on the matter, and granting his consent.

Judge Feudale, McAndrews said, did not sit there  like a "potted plant" when Fina was running the grand jury investigation. The judge heard Fina's argument, and decided to go ahead with the questioning of Baldwin, McAndrews insisted.

"That's the hearing," McAndrews said about the short colloquy between the prosecutor and the judge. McAndrews added that it was "outrageous" for the disciplinary board counsel to contend that Fina had forced Baldwin to testify against her will.

"She wanted to testify," McAndrews said of Baldwin. "Penn State wanted her to testify."

Baldwin felt compelled to disclose that her former clients "had participated in an ongoing criminal conspiracy," McAndrews said, ignoring the fact that no charges of conspiracy have ever been proven in any courtroom against any of those Penn State administrators.

Regardless, Baldwin, McAndrews said, felt she had to "stand up" and call out her former clients, during the secret grand jury proceedings.

"They were lying to her over and over again," McAndrews asserted. While those clients were actually "participating in a cover up" of Sandusky's conduct, McAndrews said, again falling back on allegations never proven in court.

But as far as McAndrews was concerned, Fina was the victim, the disciplinary board was the aggressor, and that the charges against Fina were "defamatory and scandalous."

After opening statements in the case, the first witness Kittredge called was Lawrence Fox, a longtime Philadelphia lawyer who recently joined a New York City law firm, because it was closer to New Haven, where Fox lectures at the Yale University Law School.

Fox, wearing his trademark bowtie, told the disciplinary board he had written nine books on ethics and he had taught legal ethics at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania. Fox testified that his usual hourly fee as an expert was $875, but for the disciplinary board, he had discounted that rate to $450.

During his testimony, Fox teed off on both Baldwin and Fina. Baldwin's betrayal of her clients, Fox said, "left three individuals absurdly unrepresented."

"This is an extraordinary case," Fox said. "She [Baldwin] misled [her clients] into thinking they were represented" by her. And "Mr. Fina stood by and let this happen."

What should have happened, Fox said, was that lawyers for Baldwin's three clients should have had a forum to present their case to Judge Feudale on why Baldwin shouldn't be allowed to testify against them, before Fina was ever allowed to ask the first question of Baldwin.

"One of the saddest situations I've ever seen," Fox said about the allegations of misconduct against Fina and Baldwin. "Those people," Fox said, referring to Baldwin's three former clients, "were in there [the grand jury] without a lawyer. "

Every client, Fox said, is "entitled to one true champion" as their lawyer.

In going forward with the questioning of Baldwin, Fina claimed he was willing to take a risk, but it wasn't his risk to take, Fox said. "He [Fina] then proceeded to invade the [attorney-client] privilege on page after page after page" of the grand jury transcript of Baldwin's testimony, Fox testified.

Fina's lawyers again contended that Judge Feudale fairly considered the issue before giving Fina the go-ahead to question Baldwin. But Fox went back to Rule 3.10 of the rules of professional conduct, which, according to Fox's interpretation of due process, meant what was required was a full hearing before Judge Feudale, which would have included arguments from lawyers representing Baldwin's former clients.

"The rule gets violated by not having a hearing," Fox said. And in the grand jury, Baldwin compounded the legal travesty by proceededing to disparage her clients, Fox said.

"Ms. Baldwin might as well have been giving Mr. Fina's closing argument," Fox said.

On cross-examination, McAndrews brought up some recently unsealed court transcripts, not yet seen by the disciplinary board, where Baldwin, Spanier, Curley and Schultz testified, and the late Dauphin County Judge Tod Hoover supposedly decided that Baldwin had acted ethically, as had Fina.

Fox, after a barrage of questioning, admitted he hadn't yet read the recently unsealed transcripts, but he made it clear he wasn't buying that argument.

Fox described Baldwin, a former state Supreme Court justice, as a "turncoat lawyer," and then he talked about a judge who was presiding over a "star chamber."

When McAndrews signaled he was ready to end his questioning of Fox, the witness in the bowtie cracked, "Now, don't end with a whimper."

That led to a few more testy exchanges between Fox and Fina's lawyers.

When McAndrews again brought up Judge Feudale's approval of Fina's actions, Fox shot back, "He was absolutely wrong."

Today's hearing had a nasty edge. To the layman, in a room full of lawyers, the proposition that every client deserved a lawyer who would represent them, and not sell them out behind the closed doors of a grand jury proceeding, sure sounded like a reasonable, constitutionally-sound principle, as advanced by Fox, the Yale lecturer with the yellow bow tie.

But Fina's lawyers treated Fox with open contempt, and were often seen laughing and smirking at his answers. During cross-examination, McAndrews frequently cut off Fox, as well as loudly and arrogantly admonished the ethics expert for interrupting the defense lawyer. During a break, one of Fina's lawyers was overheard describing Fox to a reporter as "a loser," and making jokes to a defense witness in the case about the effectiveness of Fox's testimony.

Fina's lawyers were also openly contemptuous of the disciplinary board's lawyer, to the point where they challenged many court transcripts she sought to enter into the record on procedural grounds, such as the documents hadn't allegedly been authenticated, or allegedly were either hearsay or irrelevant.

Fina's lawyers contended that Baldwin's former clients, Penn State president Graham Spanier, as well as Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, were sophisticated individuals who should have known that Baldwin was not really representing them before the grand jury, but that her true client was the university.

But to the layman, Fox made a lot of sense when he argued that many so-called "masters of the universe," such as Spanier the high-powered university president, were exactly the type of clients who most needed the counsel of their lawyers, as they were typically ignorant of how the legal system works. And they also weren't fully aware of what kind of jeopardy they were exposing themselves to.

It was Baldwin's job, Fox said, to take charge of her clients' defense in the attorney general's investigation, and explain to her clients how the system works, what their rights were, and what legal risks they were taking.

But it was an argument that was met with smirks, laughs and derision by Fina's lawyers. Like their client, Fina's lawyers seemed to share the opinion that during the former prosecutor's momentous crusade against the official enablers of the most notorious pedophile in the history of America, that there was no time to waste debating whether the constitutional rights of Fina's targets were being trampled on.

Because Frank Fina the all-knowing and all-seeing prosecutor, had already figured out who the bad guys were. And he had also decided that he was above the most basic rules of fair play.

Fina's hearing is scheduled to continue on July 27 and July 31. Waiting in the courtroom to testify on behalf of Fina were Baldwin and Ron Castille, the retired chief justice of the state Supreme Court, last seen laughing and joking with Fina's lawyers.


  1. Thanks for the informative report. I've not seen this reported anywhere else yet. Perhaps Fina has enough clout to keep it out of the news outlets that usually report on Sandusky scandal matters.

    1. Maybe reporters aren't smart enough to write intelligibly and accurately like this synopsis.?.

    2. Fina saw how easy it was to manufacture victims and how successful his budy Seth was in bringing forth Danny Boy. Fina did Seth one better by creating a fictional victim (#8), and using that to bring the football program and Joe Paterno down. V#10 was, however, a clone of Danny Boy, a convicted felon and drug addict hauled out of prison to do Fina's bidding.

      I still haven't heard the fate of Baldwin's daughter, who was involved in a fatal accident about the time Baldwin flipped. The case just seemed to disappear.

    3. There's also the case where Cynthia Baldwin herself killed a motorcyclist, Chester Daugherty, in a car accident in 2016. She got hit with 3 fines, totaling about $300, but there's almost nothing about it online. I can just imagine if Spanier or Paterno had killed someone in a car accident, it would be mentioned in every article about them.

  2. "She wanted to testify," McAndrews said of Baldwin. "Penn State wanted her to testify."

    Holy smokes. If McAndrews was not speaking hyperbolically, then who is “Penn State” other than the Board of Trustees?

  3. I would like to know how Sara Ganim was able to get Grand Jury information while the Grand Jury was still in session! Isn't Grand Jury testimony sealed, and privileged? Must have been from Fina wanting to taint the Sandusky Jury pool! And what was with the Grand Jury Presentment stating that Anal Rape had occurred, when anal rape was NEVER mentioned in any of the testimonies? OOPS I guess Fina was priming the Jury Pool again!

    1. Feudale and Fina apparently were both careless about grand jury secrecy. Feudale left the keys to his office in his courtroom where anyone could get them. There was no reason for Fina to send subpoenas for Curley, Schultz, Paterno and Spanier to Baldwin. She had no right to know. The subpoenas should have been sent to the individuals, not to the PSU counsel. For all we know, Baldwin leaked to Ganim. They should ask her that when she testifies for Fina.

      I also hope they ask Baldwin the following:

      1. When did you learn of the 1998 police investigation of Sandusky?

      2. Why did you not have Curley, Schultz and Spanier sign an Upjohn warning, to protect PSU's interests?

      3. When did you turn over the 2001 Spanier-Curley-Schultz emails to the OAG?

      4. Did you read all the documents you turned over to OAG in order to protect PSU's interests?

      5. Did you make any effort to locate Schultz's Sandusky file, which he told you he left in his old office when he retired?

      6. Why does your grand jury testimony contradict your sworn deposition to Freeh about the Trustee meeting where you briefed them on the Sandusky grand jury?

      7. What did you do when Fina threatened you with contempt or obstruction charges in Dec. 2011?

      8. Did you get immunity or any other consideration for your grand jury testimony against Spanier, Curley and Schultz?

    2. I would add..Why did your testimony at the Grand Jury completely contradict your testimony to a Federal Investigation Agent?

    3. But Fina said he set a trap to catch the leaker, but said that nobody took the bait, therefore no leaker. The judge bought that ruse! How stupid are PA judges? In fact, the only person stupid enough to fall into a Fina booby trap was the illustrious former AG Kathy the Klueless.

    4. Leaky Judge Feudale was hoist by his own petard, no bait needed. He was in a feud with Kane and had an email discussion with reporters offering to leak sealed court documents. Feudale copied the emails to his buddy, Fina, but stupidly used Fina's old AG's office address. Fina had long since left the AG's office.

      Kane saw the emails and filed a complaint against Feudale with the PA Supreme Court. Feudale was dismissed from his senior judgeship as a result.

      If Feudale was the leaker in the Sandusky grand jury, I'm sure his buddy Fina would have warned him about the bait.

    5. Lets give everyone a nickname, we have Leaky Feudale, Frank the Rat Fina and I am going to suggest Crooked Castille.

  4. Castile is Fina's witness ? A man who did not even care for the Supreme Court of the United States ruling on his actions. Way to go defense.

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday appeared likely to rule that a Philadelphia district attorney-turned-state high court judge should not have taken part in the case of a prison inmate whose death-penalty prosecution he personally approved nearly 30 years earlier.

    The justices indicated that inmate Terrance "Terry" Williams should get a new hearing in Pennsylvania's Supreme Court because then-Chief Justice Ronald Castille voted to reinstate Williams' death sentence in 2014. A lower court judge had thrown out the sentence because prosecutors working for Castille had hidden evidence that might have helped the defense in Williams' 1986 murder trial.
    Justice Sonia Sotomayor was among several justices who focused on Castille's actions in 1986, when he was Philadelphia's district attorney. "The judge here actually signed his name to the review of the facts and the decision to seek the death penalty," Sotomayor said.

    When Philadelphia Deputy District Attorney Ronald Eisenberg told the justices that the passage of time had lessened concerns about bias, Justice Anthony Kennedy was almost incredulous. "So the fact that he spent 30 years in solitary confinement actually helps the state?" Kennedy said.

    The conditions of Williams' confinement could be an issue in the outcome of his case. Pennsylvania has not executed anyone since 1999, and Gov. Tom Wolf has declared a moratorium on executions. But even if the chance of Williams' being put to death is small, he continues to be held in isolation along with other death row inmates in Pennsylvania.

    The court also confronted whether Castille's participation in the case made a difference on a court that ruled unanimously against Williams.

    Stuart Lev, the assistant federal defender in Philadelphia who is representing Williams, said the vote should be tossed out because no one knows, other than the Pennsylvania justices, what took place in their closed-door deliberations.

    Chief Justice John Roberts, who at times seemed skeptical of Williams' case, seemed to agree with Lev on that point. "I mean, if the individual who should have been recused occupied a dominant role in the discussion and was successful in persuading colleagues and all that — and of course, that's the sort of evidence you certainly can't have access to," Roberts said in an exchange with Eisenberg.

    High court grants Lehigh County death row inmate new sentencing
    The Philadelphia prosecutor described Castille's involvement in the case as minimal, limited to signing off on the death-penalty prosecution.

    Castille, now retired, refused defense requests to recuse himself. "In Pennsylvania, we leave it up to the judge's personal conscience. I've always been confident that I can be fair and impartial," he said in an interview with The Associated Press last week.

    Williams, who had been a star high-school quarterback, was accused of killing a church deacon. He already had been convicted of killing a high-school booster for which he was sentenced to up to 27 years in prison.

    Williams claims both men sexually abused him. Prosecutors had information that the deacon was molesting boys and failed to turn it over to defense lawyers.

  5. I also notice that the Inquirer made no mention of the Supreme Courts Ruling on Ron Castile. Williams Vs. Pennsylvania

    No. 15-5040 Feb. 29th 2016 Decided June 9th 2016

    Petitioner Williams was convicted of the 1984 murder of Amos Norwood
    and sentenced to death. During the trial, the then-district attorney
    of Philadelphia, Ronald Castille, approved the trial prosecutor’s request
    to seek the death penalty against Williams. Over the next 26
    years, Williams’s conviction and sentence were upheld on direct appeal,
    state postconviction review, and federal habeas review. In
    2012, Williams filed a successive petition pursuant to Pennsylvania’s
    Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA), arguing that the prosecutor had
    obtained false testimony from his codefendant and suppressed material,
    exculpatory evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373
    U. S. 83. Finding that the trial prosecutor had committed Brady violations,
    the PCRA court stayed Williams’s execution and ordered a
    new sentencing hearing. The Commonwealth asked the Pennsylvania
    Supreme Court, whose chief justice was former District Attorney
    Castille, to vacate the stay. Williams filed a response, along with a
    motion asking Chief Justice Castille to recuse himself or, if he declined
    to do so, to refer the motion to the full court for decision.
    Without explanation, the chief justice denied Williams’s motion for
    recusal and the request for its referral. He then joined the State Supreme
    Court opinion vacating the PCRA court’s grant of penaltyphase
    relief and reinstating Williams’s death sentence. Two weeks
    later, Chief Justice Castille retired from the bench.

  6. "He was absolutely wrong." That's exactly what the Supreme Court said about Castile, of course Castile did not agree with their decision. Whats the point of having laws if lawyers do not have to follow them or interpret them to benefit themselves.

  7. Calling former PA Supreme Court justice, Ron Castille, seems to illustrate how Fina got too chummy with judges, as he apparently did with Feudale.

    Castille was not always ethical, yet he would complain if a lawyer who opposed him violated the rules of professional conduct. He once referred a lawyer to the disciplinary board because the lawyer filed a death row appeal to the US Supreme Court without his client's permission. The client was Michael Eric Ballard, who is apparently still alive given the current moratorium on PA executions.

    Castille is very big on the death penalty and used it in his campaign for the Supreme Court. It annoyed him when the lawyer appealed to the US Supreme Court after his court denied the appeal.

    To be fair though, Castille did buck his party quite a few times in major decisions.

    1. Judges getting too chummy with prosecutors is how the Traffic Court trial evolved, Castille was the chief instigator of that fiasco. Castille had plotted and planned exactly how the scheme would be carried out, do nothing while he was in charge, retire and then act as if his pals at the federal building had uncovered a den of iniquity. Put a friend in charge of Traffic Court and have the Inky run the rest of the show.

      Its how we do things in our country, sensationalism is what we crave.

      If he had the moral fortitude to correct issues while he was the head honcho of the Supreme Court, he could have saved the City of Philadelphia and State of Pennsylvania millions and millions of dollars in lost revenue. Revenue from Traffic Court is down considerably, who defrauded the Commonwealth ? Castille and Company.

      Why indeed do those that hold all the cards need to cheat, these people think they deserve our respect for defrauding the city and its citizens. The tide is turning, no longer do we blindly believe the prosecution or the Inky who runs interference for them. Too long have they been used as tool for the prosecution, misdirecting the flow of justice.

  8. Fox and some of his law students submitted an amicus "friend of the court" brief in that U.S. Supreme Court case that Castille lost.

  9. Ralph, Attorney Fox and his law students hopefully are perusing the OIG Report on the DOJ and FBI handling of the Clinton E-Mail Investigation.

    This report clearly is an indictment of all parties named but of the IG, as well, for not pushing for criminal referrals.

    If the celebrated convicted felons that you doggedly champion, had the protection that Clinton received, and notably the blasé investigation of Abedin/Weiner devices, they would never have gone to trial.
    Are we to believe that former Congressman Weiner and Huma Abedin while sharing devices may not have been involved in other conspiracies still to be divulged?

    Are we to believe that Abedin would not be interested in the communications and searches by Weiner and he had no interest in communications that Clinton and Abedin shared? Given the fact that Weiner was employed by a high powered lobbyist after resigning office in disgrace.

    It is overwhelmingly obvious that by not convening a grand jury, granting immunity to the parties implicated in the crime, and allowing Clinton's Attorneys, who were material witnesses to the investigation sit in the FBI/DOJ Interview that was not recorded, Comey and Lynch should be prosecuted for dereliction of duty and misfeasance, malfeasance, and nonfeasance.

    This OIG Report stands as an example of how corrupt jurisprudence is, has been, and hopefully may get better.

    It only proves that a millionaire player like Vince should have spent more money on Counsel and less on mansions, boats, and running charities with better skills like those of the Clintons.

    They could afford $1500/hr. Attorneys when a millionaire like Vince would rather go cheap and do the time.

    1. Lots of government officials used private email accounts, in violation of government policies.

      The OIG found FBI Director Comey was using a private email account for some official business even as he investigated Clinton's use of a private email server.

      Sec. of State Colin Powell used a private email account, his personal computer and private phone lines to avoid State Dept. servers capturing his work emails. "I got around it by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data" Powell wrote Clinton in January, 2009. Why wasn't Powell investigated if it was all about security of State Dept. emails and not just a Clinton witch hunt?

  10. "Smirks, laughs and derision by Fina's lawyers" certainly seems an unprofessional response to a serious hearing about violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Such actions by Fina's lawyers may even be a breach of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

    Rule 3.5 notes that "Refraining from abusive or obstreperous conduct is a corollary of the advocate’s right to speak on behalf of litigants.... An advocate can present the cause, protect the record for subsequent review and preserve professional integrity by patient firmness no less effectively than by belligerence or theatrics."

    Do "smirks, laughs and derision" qualify as "abusive or obstreperous conduct, belligerence or theatrics?"

  11. innocenceprojectToday, the New York Times published an op-ed by @innocenceproject Senior Staff Attorney Nina Morrison examining a recent prosecutorial misconduct scandal involving Glenn Kurtzrock, a former homicide prosecutor in Suffolk County.
    In May 2017, Kurtzrock was caught withholding exculpatory material from Messiah Booker, a man charged with first-degree murder who had maintained his innocence. According to Morrison, Mr. Booker spent more than 18 months in jail awaiting trial before his defense lawyer discovered that Mr. Kurtzrock had altered hundreds of pages of police records to remove a wealth of exculpatory information.
    Upon discovering Kurtzrock’s violation of Brady v. Maryland, the Suffolk County district attorney fired Kurtzrock and dismissed Booker’s murder charge mid-trial. The district attorney’s office then found that he had concealed evidence in four other cases—all four of which have since been overturned by the courts.
    Despite Kurtzrock’s actions, he has yet to be charged with a single crime. He hasn’t even been suspended or disbarred. He’s now working as a defense lawyer in private practice. That’s right: he’s making a living representing people accused of crimes, in the same courthouse from which he was (supposedly) banished a year ago.
    “The National Registry of Exonerations, based out of the University of California, Irvine, reports that “official misconduct” — by police, prosecutors or both —was a factor in roughly half of the nearly 2,200 exonerations across the country since 1989,” writes Morrison.
    “If an elected district attorney is unwilling or unable to bring criminal charges against an assistant prosecutor who so flagrantly violates the law,” Morrison concludes, “the attorney general or governor should step in and appoint a special prosecutor.”
    If prosecutorial misconduct is a significant factor in many wrongful convictions, how can it be remedied?

    1. The Times, and the rest of the media, can get behind the Innocence Project if they're freeing young black men falsely accused.

      It's another story, as we've discovered on this blog, when we're talking about falsely accused Catholic priests or schoolteachers. As for Jerry Sandusky, who still insists he was falsely accused -- and there is plenty of disturbing evidence in his case about prosecutorial and police misconduct, a rush to judgment, and media malpractice -- nobody cares.

    2. The Innocence Project only deals with cases where DNA testing might prove innocence. That excludes almost all child abuse convictions like Sandusky's, whose case had no DNA evidence. They do champion many white guys too.

      The Innocence Project webpage on their successful cases picture dozens of white guys, even some white women.

      The Sandusky case is a much more difficult challenge because the judges, prosecutors, media and other organizations (CYS, DPW, PSU, Freeh law firm) all seem to be unfairly working together against Sandusky. A lot of the evidence remains under seal, including most of the grand jury testimony, the Freeh documents and the hearing as to why Sandusky Grand Jury Judge Barry Feudale was dismissed. There isn't much new material to work with.

      Maybe if Baldwin and Fina get suspended or disbarred, it might be a start to turn things around for Sandusky. A favorable resolution for Monsignor Lynn might also bring more attention to Sandusky's case too.

      Sandusky could use a game changer, such as a podcast series on his case, some new evidence, a recantation by a victim or for him to write a compelling book that raises doubts about his guilt.


    3. Why wasn't Huma Abedin outed as a sex offender after sharing computers with her pervert husband? Are we going to continue this charade that she had not participated or had knowledge of Weiner's habits and transgressions? The reporting of such egregious behavior by Clinton's, presumed lover and confidante, would disrupt the agenda of the Times or the Post.

      Rosanne missed the boat.

      If you cross the Muslim Brotherhood and a renegade Jew, you have a would be Weiner/Abedin abortion.

    4. I had the good fortune of meeting two exonerees of the Innocence Project,Michael Morton and Keith Harward, both white men. Michael Morton spent 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife he did not commit. It took the Texas Innocence Project 10 years to set him free, Ken Anderson was the prosecutor on the case who hid evidence that would have exonerated Mr. Morton. The killer had left a bandanna at the scene with his DNA , as well as Mr. Mortons three year old son who was home at the time and said his dad was not home, had Mr. Anderson turned over the evidence to the defense another woman might still be alive today. The killer was free to kill again, which he did, in the same fashion as he has killed Christine Morton, both women were beaten to death in their beds. Ken Anderson was a federal judge when Mr. Morton was released, he was sentenced to ten days in prison and spent eight days incarcerated. This case led to Gov. Rick Perry of Texas signing into law the Michael Morton Act, whereby prosecutors have to turn over all evidence to the defense.

      The second man was Keith Harward who spent 33 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit, he was convicted by “bite mark experts” who testified in court that Mr. Harwards teeth matched the rape victims bite marks. Bite mark science is junk science, there is no way to distinguish if a person made a particular bite. CSI is a T. V. show and does not depict real life crime fighting techniques, more harm has come from juries thinking that CSI type testing exists. The real killer was identified using DNA testing.

      Ralph,People do care, people who know the truth care, defendants and their families and friends know what prosecutors do, it’s the vast majority of mainstream news readers that do not know of these facts or that never learned that prosecutors do lie, do hide evidence, threaten witnesses into giving false testimony against a victim and scores of other schemes to incarnate innocents. People are helpless to do anything against a prosecutor who lies due to the immunity given to them by the Supreme Court, when we change the law that holds them accountable for their deeds, then we will see change but most of all we need to change mainstream media reporters outlooks on condemning defendants on the accusations of prosecutors. There has to be a mindset change in the media to change the mindset of jurors.

      The National Registry of Exonerations reports that nearly half of all exonerations were due to “official misconduct”, meaning a prosecutor or a police officer lied or hid exculpatory evidence.
      Journalist who pride themselves in their quest to uncover corruption and graft are missing the largest scheme in modern history ,which is in plain sight, most do not have the stomach or courage to write about a prosecutor. Most of all we need people like you Ralph, who report accurately on the facts of a case, not just giving us the prosecutions version of facts.

    5. Response to Ralph's comment - same can be said about DA Krasner and AG Shapiro. Cherrypick their cases and ignorant of ones that deserve a look due to prosecutorial misconduct

  12. An interesting sidelight to the Fina hearing was reported by the Legal Intelligencer.

    PA Chief Deputy Attorney General, James Barker, sent an amicus brief supporting Fina to the disciplinary board blaming AG Kane's feud with Fina as the reason OAG did not appeal the Superior Court decision that faulted Fina and Baldwin. The brief even claimed it offered an “independent interest and perspective.” "Independent interest" is a laugh coming from Fina crony, Barker, who sued Kane after she fired him.

    The disciplinary board wrote back and said they don't accept amicus briefs in such cases. You'd think the OAG would know better than to try and interfere but then we know from the disciplinary hearing the OAG often doesn't follow the rules. Gotta give Barker an A for chutzpah.

  13. innocenceprojectYesterday, Christopher Miller was exonerated in Cleveland, OH after spending 17 years in prison for a crime DNA proves he did not commit. Miller was freed with the assistance of the @ohio_innocence_project.
    In 2002, Miller was convicted of kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and robbery and sentenced to 44 years in prison. On the day after the crime, police located the victim’s cell phone in Miller’s possession, which made him the prime suspect. Miller claimed he’d purchased it from a stranger on the street in exchange for drugs and maintained his innocence. The victim later identified him as one of her attackers.
    Pretrial DNA testing of the rape kit excluded Miller and revealed an unknown male profile. The prosecutor argued that the unknown profile must’ve belonged to Miller’s accomplice, since the victim claimed that two men had attacked her. Two years after Miller’s conviction, investigators matched the DNA from the rape kit to Richard Stadmire who detectives then interviewed along with his accomplice in another rape, Charles Boyd. Boyd told police that Miller and Stadmire had raped and robbed the victim while he waited outside as the lookout. A jury convicted Stadmire and sentenced him to 43 years in prison; Boyd plead guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison.
    In 2015, the @ohio_innocence_project became involved in Miller’s case. They recovered police reports that showed inconsistencies in the victim’s identification. These reports had not been turned over to Miller’s defense at trial. The rape kit was also re-tested using advanced technology and revealed a second profile—in addition to Stadmire’s—belonging to Boyd. The state then tested other items at the crime scene, which further confirmed Miller’s innocence.
    Miller is the 27th person freed by the @ohio_innocence_project and the 10th exoneration in 3 years.

  14. Is it to much to ask that this site have a new story more than once or twice a month ?


Thoughtful commentary welcome. Trolling, harassing, and defaming not welcome. Consistent with 47 U.S.C. 230, we have the right to delete without warning any comments we believe are obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.