Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No Disqualification When Criminal Defendant Sues Prosecutor

The New York Court of Appeals has affirmed a decision not to disqualify a county district attorney and his staff from prosecuting a criminal case relating to illegal steroid and other prescription sales over the internet. The court agreed with the Appellate Division that the trial court had exceeded his authority in ordering disqualification and directing the appointment of a special district attorney.

The alleged conflict of interest involved a civil suit brought by the criminal defendants after the district attorney had dismissed an indictment. A virtually identical indictment was obtained "well before the defendants filed the civil suit."

The court:

...while we refrain from concluding that a civil law suit commenced by a criminal defendant against a duly elected district attorney in the midst of a pending prosecution will never warrant disqualification of such district attorney, we see no basis for petitioner's disqualification here.

(Mike Frisch)


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