Love your Country; beware your governmnet of occupation.
November 21, 1998
Paper: Fed. Prosecutors Break Law
Filed at 11:46 a.m. EST
By The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Federal agents and prosecutors around the
country have repeatedly broken the law over the past decade in
pursuit of convictions, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said it found
as the result of a two-year investigation.
The newspaper, in a 10-part series that begins Sunday, said it
found examples of prosecutors lying, hiding evidence, distorting
the facts, engaging in cover-ups, paying for perjury and setting up
innocent people to win indictments, guilty pleas and convictions.
Federal officials rarely were punished for their misconduct,
despite the fact that they caused some victims to lose their jobs,
assets and even families, the newspaper said. It also reported that
some victims went to prison because prosecutors withheld favorable
evidence or allowed fabricated testimony, while some criminals
walked free as a reward for conspiring with the government.
``It's a result-oriented process today, fairness be damned,'' said
Robert Merkle, who served as a U.S. attorney in Florida from 1982
to 1988 and is now a defense lawyer in Tampa.
``The philosophy of the past 10 to 15 years (is) that whatever
works is what's right,'' he told the Post-Gazette.
The U.S. Justice Department, which oversees federal prosecutors,
denied the newspaper's allegations.
``Our prosecutors live by strict, comprehensive and effective
ethics rules,'' Myron Marlin, a department spokesman in Washington,
told The Associated Press. ``They are governed by the rules in the
states where they are licensed, the courts where the case is tried
and by federal regulation as well.
``Our office that oversees prosecutorial conduct (Office of
Professional Responsibility) reviews every complaint and vigorously
pursues prosecutors who cross the line.''
During the newspaper's investigation, the Justice Department did
not respond to questions it posed in writing, nor would it return
phone calls requesting comment.
The Post-Gazette said the problems have worsened as Congress has
eliminated many of the checks and balances designed to prevent the
abuse of power. For instance, federal sentencing guidelines say a
person who pleads guilty to a crime and is cooperative should
receive a lesser sentence than someone who fights a charge and is
convicted at trial.
``The courts used to be a buffer between prosecutors and the rights
of defendants,'' said Bennett Gershman, a former New York State
prosecutor who teaches law at Pace University. ``They are now
simply a rubber stamp.''
No matter what offense a federal prosecutor may commit in pursuing
an investigation, a criminal defendant is practically powerless to
sue for damages, the newspaper found.
The Post-Gazette also said it found hundreds of examples of abuse
in discovery, which requires that federal prosecutors turn over to
criminal defendants any evidence that might help prove the
defendants' innocence or show lack of credibility on the part of
``My attitude was that if you can't take the truth and win, then
you weren't supposed to win,'' said Gary Richardson, who had an
``open file'' discovery policy during his tenure as a U.S. attorney
in Oklahoma, which ended in 1984.
In Richardson's office, defense lawyers were permitted to come in
and look at anything prosecutors had collected on a particular
Now that ``open file'' discovery policy simply doesn't exist, said
Richardson, now a defense attorney in Oklahoma City.
Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., tried to rein in federal prosecutors with
legislation called the Citizens Protection Act, which would have
established an independent oversight board to monitor federal
prosecutors and require them to abide by state ethics laws. It also
provided sanctions against prosecutors who knowingly committed
Murtha decided to draft the legislation after watching an
eight-year federal investigation nearly destroy Rep. Joseph McDade,
R-Pa., who in 1996 was acquitted of charges that he accepted gifts
from defense companies in exchange for helping them win lucrative
That case ``made me recognize the tremendous power a prosecutor
has. I could see that if they did this to a Joe McDade, an ordinary
citizen has no chance,'' Murtha said.
The House of Representative approved the legislation in August by a
vote of 345-82. But the bill became part of the federal
appropriations package that Congress passed in October, and the
Justice Department managed to have all but one provision killed in
the conference committee that crafted the budget bill.
Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company
The information contained in this AP Online news report
may not be republished or redistributed
without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
From firstname.lastname@example.orgFri Nov 13 01:31:55 1998
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 22:51:50 -0600
From: Allen Carlton
WHAT THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO SEE
US Gov't wants to shop around for judges to hear Civil Cases pending
against Federal Agencies responsible for the total destruction of entire
American Families (Domestic Terrorism). Racketeering and Influencing
Corrupted Organization (RICO). US District Judge John McBryde is being
attacked because he is ethical. And the fact that the National Goal is
to reduce gov't and gov't spending continues to be accomplished through
abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
Federal Whistle Blower
(OSC MA 93 1872)
Court overturns two McBryde cases
By Laura Vozzella
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
FORT WORTH -- The prison sentences of a drug dealer and a man who robbed a
bank with his toddler in tow have been
overturned by a federal appeals court that found that U.S. District Judge John
McBryde should have withdrawn from the
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that McBryde "abused his
discretion" when he refused to withdraw
from the cases after the lawyer who represented both defendants testified
against the strict Fort Worth judge in disciplinary
hearings. The appeals court ordered that another district judge resentence the
"The average person ... would question Judge McBryde's ability to be impartial
in a case involving an attorney who has
testified against Judge McBryde," the judges wrote.
The findings were not unanimous, despite an order -- issued by the Judicial
Council of the 5th Circuit after the October
1997 sentencings -- forcing McBryde to recuse himself from such cases for
Appeals Court Judge Edith Jones issued a strongly worded dissent, asserting
that the orders "will create serious problems"
for the courts and heap more punishment on McBryde, who has been barred from
receiving new cases for up to a year.
"The panel's decisions in these cases needlessly pile on the prior actions of
the Judicial Council, which has publicly
reprimanded Judge McBryde and subjected him essentially to a temporary
impeachment," Jones wrote.
Given a lifetime appointment by President Bush in 1990, McBryde quickly gained
a reputation for strict -- some say abusive
-- courtroom demeanor. His supporters praise him as a no-nonsense jurist who
cut through a huge backlog of cases.
An investigative committee of the Judicial Council, the administrative arm of
the New Orleans appeals court, held a series
of hearings last year on McBryde's fitness for the bench. The council ordered
McBryde to recuse himself from any cases
involving lawyers who testified against him, including Paul Stickney, then an
assistant federal public defender.
In October 1997, four months before the recusal order took effect, Stickney
asked McBryde to withdraw from several of
his cases, including those of the bank robber and drug dealer. Stickney, now a
federal magistrate judge in Dallas, had
testified against McBryde in New Orleans in August 1997.
McBryde did not recuse himself and sentenced Ricardo Avilez-Reyes to 15 years
in prison for possession of
methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
He sentenced Tony Leroy Anderson, who pleaded guilty to carrying his
2-year-old son in his arms as he robbed a bank, to
the maximum 3½ years without parole.
"This court recognizes that it is essential to avoid even the appearance of
impropriety because it is as important in
developing the public confidence in our judicial system as avoiding the
impropriety itself," the appeals court wrote.
But Jones, the dissenting judge, said courts typically reject recusal motions
based on "a litigant's deliberate act of criticizing
a judge" in order to prevent judge shopping.
Jones also asserted that the defendants' rights were "protected from
arbitrariness" by federal sentencing guidelines.
Avilez-Reyes was sentenced to the lower half of the guidelines range, she
McBryde gave Anderson the maximum sentence for the robbery, but there was only
a nine- month span between the
minimum 37 months and the maximum 46 months, she wrote. McBryde did not act on
the recommendation of a probation
officer who asked, in light of Anderson's willingness to place his son in
danger, to exceed the maximum sentence by
granting an "upward departure" from the guidelines, Jones noted.
"As far as I am aware, no one has ever questioned Judge McBryde's integrity or
his ability to render decision impartial to
the parties before him," Jones wrote. "If anything, the substance of the
allegations against him concerned alleged abuse of
`all' lawyers appearing in his court."
Laura Vozzella, (817) 390-7688
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Created: November 23, 1998
Last Updated: January 28, 1999