April 3, 2008
Prosecutor Charged With Prejudicial Comments On Pending Case
The Attorney Grievance Commission of Michigan recently filed a disciplinary complaint that charges an elected county prosecutor with violating Rule 3.6 in making a series of published comments concerning a criminal matter shortly after a guilty verdict was returned. He professed his belief in the defendant's guilt and made reference to the defendant's purported refusal to take a polygraph examination after the trial judge had ordered a new trial. The defendant was an elementary school teacher who had been convicted of molesting two students. The complaint alleges that the prosecutor made reference to inadmissible videotape evidence (non-erotic videos like Star Wars and Little House on the Prairie, which the judge had excluded from evidence), stated that the defendant had made videotapes because he was a pedophile and that he was a "freak."
The charged prosecutor has a relatively high profile, having handled the criminal prosecution of professional basketball players arising out of the Indiana Pacer-fan brawl. This case will be worth keeping an eye on, as there appears to be an emerging trend of disciplinary cases involving criminal prosecutors. A similar case against the now Attorney General of Maryland resulted in a reprimand. (Mike Frisch)
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