Friday, October 11, 2019

A Hope Is Not A Promise

A Louisiana Hearing Committee has concluded that a prosecutor did not violate his disclosure obligations in a murder case with respect to deals offered to a jailhouse snitch.

The committee recommends dismissal of the ethics charges

The parties and the Committee agreed early on that the principal fact issue was whether Mr. Greene had an expectation that he would receive a change in his place incarceration, a reduced sentence, or a reward in exchange for his testimony, or he simply had a hope for such consideration. The only evidence supporting the contention that he had such an expectation was a statement in the hand-written letter to Respondent dated March 15, 2010 and introduced as ODC Exhibit 37A. In the letter, after reciting indications by other representatives of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office to the effect that he had not been promised anything in return for his testimony, Mr. Greene states, “You, Mr. Phillips guaranteed me that I would be transferred from here and I have not.” The letter goes on to describe the danger of Greene’s being incarcerated in the same institution as Mr. Tucker. Mr. Greene’s other statements, in his correspondence and criminal court testimony, belie his March 15, 2010 statement that Respondent guaranteed him a transfer, and the Committee finds that the statement respecting the alleged guarantee was not credible.

Respondent forcefully and credibly denied making any such statement to Mr. Greene. He testified that he never would have made such a statement to Mr. Greene in view of the use to which the defense could put it in cross-examining Mr. Greene.

The committee noted that the trial judge in the murder case had concluded that there was no Brady violation after an in camera inspection of materials. 

The Committee further finds that the evidence allegedly withheld was not material and that its withholding, therefore, would not have violated Brady.

(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink


Post a comment