Friday, June 8, 2012

Questions on Ted Stevens Prosecution Raised this Week


The Senate Judiciary Committee held Wednesday another hearing that touched on the bungled Ted Stevens prosecution.

The hearing aired four important questions:

1.  Were the prosecution's failures in discovery in the Ted Stevens case intentional, reckless, or negligent?

2.  Did the internal ethics investigation conducted by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR)--and the parallel probe run by court-appointed special counsel--apply a double standard in punishing line prosecutors while unfairly letting their superiors off the hook?

3.   How common are prosecutorial discovery failures like those seen in the Ted Stevens case?   (Congressional critics point to a series of high-profile black eyes in the Justice Department's work, while Deputy Attorney General James Cole said there was "an 'incontestably small' number of discovery rule violations, something like three hundredths of a percent.")

4.   Are the problems in discovery in federal criminal cases sufficiently addressed by the administrative changes promulgated by the Justice Department in the wake of the debacle of the Ted Stevens case, or does Congress need to enact laws to change the rules?

Relatedly, Amanda Coyne and Tony Hopfinger of Alaska Dispatch ask "Why is lead FBI agent in botched Ted Stevens case still employed?" 


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