Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nuclear Strike in the Silicon Valley

We have done extensive reporting on prosecutorial misconduct in Santa Clara County, California. Now the situation has taken a serious turn for the worst for embattled Rove Republican Racket member and Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr.

About three weeks ago, we reported about the stunning rebuke an Assistant DA received from Judge Andrea Y. Bryan who lashed out at the "numerous acts of misconduct" including the serious charge of providing "false testimony" during the trial.

Now in retaliation, Carr has pushed the nuclear trigger against Bryan and is boycotting any criminal cases before the judge. The San Jose Mercury News writes:

Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr on Tuesday offered her most vigorous defense to date of her office's boycott of Superior Court Judge Andrea Bryan, even as criticism mounted in the legal community of what some are likening to a retaliatory nuclear strike. In an e-mail to the newspaper, Carr called it "not unheard of" for prosecutors to disqualify a judge from all criminal cases, citing actions by prosecutors in San Diego, Ventura and Mendocino counties, as well as efforts by public defenders to boycott judges in Santa Clara, Napa and San Bernardino counties.

But experts in criminal law and ethics said the blanket boycott that Carr initiated last week is an abusive tactic that can damage the court system. "Most DAs realize it's like the atomic bomb," said Laurie L. Levenson, who teaches criminal law and ethics at Loyola Law School.  "Inappropriate" and "a threat to judicial independence" were the terms used by Gerald F. Uelmen, a Santa Clara University law professor and former dean.

Carr instructed her staff Friday to stop bringing all criminal cases before Bryan, who recently angered prosecutors by finding that a trial prosecutor in her office committed numerous acts of misconduct, including giving false testimony. Carr, who is running for re-election and facing stiff criticism for the boycott, insisted in an e-mail that her decision was based on a pattern of rulings by Bryan. She declined to elaborate further.