“We respectfully disagree with the judge’s findings,” said Jeff McShan. “We believe our prosecutors acted ethically and argued within the four corners of the record and we intend to appeal.”
Nothing new here. This District Attorney, this District Attorney’s Office, has yet to take responsibility for any egregious behavior by its prosecutors.
This time, Judge Stacey Bond found in her 7 page findings that prosecutors Tiffany Johnson and Angela Weltin committed several misdeeds during trial, forcing a mistrial. During a hearing following the mistrial, it has been said that prosecutor Allan Curry argued that all though Ms. Johnson had acted inappropriately it was not intentional. Now, Jeff McShan, spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office, says the prosecutors acted ethically. Which is it?
Previously, when a chief prosecutor was found to be texting the bailiff in charge of the jury during trial seeking information about the jurors thoughts, the District Attorney’s Office responded,
“While no violation was to be found, we don’t condone prosecutors texting bailiffs while a trial is taking place,” the spokesman said. “The matter will be handled internally.”
And, of course, there’s the famed David Temple case in which former prosecutor Kelly Siegler has been found to have violated ethical duties, and the District Attorney’s Office saw no problem.
And what about responsibility for their social media? While it may not have directly affected the trial at hand, the District Attorney posted on Facebook and Twitter during trial about extraneous charges that had not been introduced into evidence. Clearly, a violation of the ethical duties of any attorney and especially prosecutors. Yet, prosecutors again see no problem with their own actions.
What will it take for this District Attorney to start taking responsibility? When will we demand accountability? When will we demand the utmost in professional ethics of our prosecutors?
UPDATE: Being a Prosecutor Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry – on the Fault Lines Blog by Murray Newman explains the ruling in more detail.