Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Chandra Levy Murder Prosecutors Face Ethics Hearing

An interesting bar discipline matter is scheduled for hearing beginning on January 25, 2021 involving allegations against two prosecutors in a notorious murder case.

The hearing may be seen in real time at this link.

We reported on the allegations

The District of Columbia Disciplinary Counsel has filed ethics charges alleging that two Assistant United States Attorneys violated their disclosure obligations in the high profile criminal trial of the accused murderer of Chandra Levy.

The petition alleges that the misconduct came to light after conviction and involved non-disclosures concerning a cooperating witness.

In 2008, Ms. Haines, an experienced AUSA specializing in cold cases, was assigned to handle the investigation of Ms. Levy’s murder. She asked Mr. Campoamor-Sanchez to assist her in the case as second chair...

Had Respondents disclosed [witness] Mr. Morales’s prior debriefing to the defense, the defense would have known to investigate Mr. Morales’s history of cooperation with law enforcement...

Without the evidence that he had debriefed to law enforcement years before the alleged “redemption,” the defense was unable to effectively challenge the prosecution’s argument about Mr. Morales’s motive for coming forward with damaging testimony about Mr. Guandique.

The defendant was convicted and sentenced to 60 years.

Two years later, Fresno police were investigating Morales

In light of these revelations, the USAO assembled an independent post-trial team to conduct an investigation into Mr. Morales’s past and determine what needed to be disclosed to the defense. The post-trial team learned that Mr. Morales had attempted to cooperate with law enforcement in 1996 as part of his plea deal. Neither Ms. Haines nor Mr. Campoamor-Sanchez were on the post-trial team.

By letter dated November 21, 2012, after the USAO decided disclosure to the defense was necessary, Mr. Campoamor-Sanchez disclosed to defense counsel the details of Mr. Morales’s previous attempts to cooperate with law enforcement.

The charges were eventually dismissed and the defendant was deported. 

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2021/01/an-interesting-bar-discipline-matter-is-scheduled-for-hearing-beginning-on-january-2021.html

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