Friday, May 21, 2010

California's Conflicting Carr

The case against the Rove Republican Racket District Attorney of Santa Clara County, California, Dolores Carr (pictured)is gaining momentum. As readers may recall, Carr pushed the nuclear button in legal circles and spearheaded the boycott of a sitting judge after the judge tossed out a case for gross prosecutorial misconduct.

Carr now faces a well-financed competitor who currently serves as a Deputy Prosecutor in her office.

The race has heated up and conflicts and controversy are knocking Carr down.

The San Jose Mercury News reports:

Almost from the start of her administration, Carr has been controversial. Earlier this year, she alienated many in the legal community when she ordered her staff to stop bringing criminal cases before Superior Court Judge Andrea Bryan. Two weeks prior, the judge had angered prosecutors by dismissing a sex molestation case after finding that a prosecutor committed misconduct, including giving false testimony. Some legal experts said the extremely rare blanket boycott could have a chilling effect on judicial oversight of overzealous prosecution.

Carr has apologized repeatedly for her misjudgment regarding her husband's involvement in a high-profile murder case. Carr's husband, former San Jose police Lt. John Carr, was paid $14,000 by an attorney for the slain victim's family, who had filed a separate lawsuit against the bank where he was shot. With that payment, the district attorney in effect was receiving income from an advocate for the victim's family, even as she would ultimately decide whether to seek the death penalty in the criminal case. The case eventually was turned over to the state attorney general to prosecute because of the potential conflict of interest. The money was returned and Carr said her husband would confine his work as a consultant to outside the county. But legal experts said she should have known from the outset that was the only ethical choice.

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