Federal prosecutor facing new accusations of misconduct

Federal prosecutor facing new accusations of misconduct

A prosecutor on the circumstance that led to the development of the state’s at the time-key checklist of trouble law enforcement was accused of withholding evidence in two modern federal cases.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Davis was part of the prosecutorial group that abruptly dropped a federal case against Harmony contractor Nathan Craigue this summer time right after the protection argued the government’s failure to present information and facts about a critical witness’s connection with the Concord Law enforcement Department amounted to expert misconduct.

Davis has also been accused of withholding evidence in a case from Windham resident Imran Alrai, prompting a mistrial.

Newly unsealed court docket data show that the federal government dropped the expenses in opposition to Craigue on the fifth working day of the demo in June the moment protection attorneys found that the Harmony Law enforcement Department had paid out witness Nick Ford $80 immediately after he testified in advance of a grand jury, info that experienced not been disclosed before trial. Defense attorneys have been also not instructed Ford had assisted police with other felony scenarios.

The case was out of the blue dropped the early morning following a uncommon 9:15 p.m. video clip meeting amongst lawyers and the decide. The case file was to begin with sealed but has now been created public.

“The government’s failure to discover of and disclose these details was patent prosecutorial misconduct,” Decide Landya McCafferty, main justice of the U.S. District Court docket for the District of New Hampshire, wrote in her buy to unseal the data.

“The fact that very comparable misconduct has occurred at minimum twice in this United States Attorney’s Business inside a limited time span raises considerations about the seriousness to which the govt will take its constitutional disclosure obligations.”

Ford was doing the job together with Kenneth McKenna on Aug. 28, 2018, the day the 51-year-outdated fell off a roof and died whilst on a occupation for Craigue’s enterprise, Craigue and Sons Property Exteriors. Craigue experienced been accused of making wrong statements to a federal agent subsequent the accident.

Davis was also a trial lawyer in the circumstance Point out vs. Carl Laurie, the circumstance that led to the generation of the Exculpatory Evidence Plan, a list of police officers with believability problems also regarded as the Laurie List. A courtroom overturned Laurie’s murder conviction in 1995 mainly because prosecutors withheld evidence that the officer who took Laurie’s confession experienced been disciplined for dishonesty.

Following that scenario, prosecutors stored a magic formula record of law enforcement officers who had been disciplined for issues like lying, applying extreme pressure or planting proof. By community pressure and a lawsuit by the ACLU of New Hampshire and most of the state’s media shops, the list grew to become general public last yr.

That form of reversal of a murder conviction is rare, reported Albert “Buzz” Scherr, a former defense legal professional who defended Laurie and is now a professor at the College of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce Faculty of Legislation.

“There’s a extensive history with John Davis in conditions of prosecutorial misconduct,” Scherr reported. “I imagine the U.S. Attorney is heading to have to get a extensive tough seem at John Davis’ conduct if they are responsible.”

Davis’ job has spanned over and above New Hampshire. He was also involved in the investigation of Richard Jewell, a protection guard who was falsely accused of carrying out the Centennial Park bombing at the 1996 Summer time Olympics, and the investigation into Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is considered to be a single of the individuals powering the 9/11 attacks. Davis declined to be interviewed for this story.

The Craigue circumstance

Craigue was billed with falsely telling federal investigators in 2018 that McKenna was a subcontractor and not a complete-time staff, but the pandemic delayed his trial till June 2021.

Ford testified for the very first time on June 9. On the early morning of June 10, prosecutors advised Choose McCafferty that they experienced acquired from the protection team that Ford experienced a prior marriage with William Carroll, a former detective who worked for the Harmony Law enforcement Office amongst August 2011 and September 2019.

At the time of the demo, Carroll was performing as a federal probation officer in the exact courthouse in which the trial took area.

Prosecutors interviewed Carroll on June 10 and confirmed that he experienced paid Ford $80 on Could 16, 2019, the day next Ford’s grand jury testimony. Ford experienced earlier been a source of “corroborated information” for the Concord Police Section.

Concord Police Chief Bradley Osgood wrote in an email to the Watch Friday that Carroll’s supervisor and commander had been aware of the payment, as properly as “possibly a person other officer.” Osgood wrote that there ended up no other incidents of cooperating witnesses remaining paid out as a consequence of court docket testimony, according to his data courting again to 2010.

Shelling out “cooperating individuals” arrives from the police department’s Special Investigation Fund, which is permitted by Metropolis Council. In the latest fiscal yr price range, $20,000 was appropriated to this fund. Osgood was not able to say how many informants Harmony police now has considering that the amount of cooperating individuals is “constantly fluctuating.”

Right after facts about Ford’s connection with Harmony law enforcement arrived to mild, Craigue’s legal professionals, Assistant Federal Defenders Dorothy Graham and Behzad Mirhashem, ended up ready to file a movement to dismiss the situation for prosecutorial misconduct.

“The problem in these conditions is they have an obligation to go and seem,” Mirhashem stated in a early morning conference on June 10. “This scenario we’re going to be questioned to be dismissed for prosecutorial misconduct mainly because we would have experienced two many years to look into this guy. Now he’s testified like a Boy Scout.”

At a movie meeting that night at 9:15 p.m., McCafferty denied a motion by prosecutors to strike Ford’s testimony. The subsequent early morning, she approved a motion by the government to dismiss the rates with prejudice, this means Craigue are not able to be tried once more.

“Questions ofprosecutorial misconduct”

The sealed transcripts ended up designed public after attorneys for Windham resident Imran Alrai intervened in the Craigue circumstance.

In June, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Laplante requested a new trial for Alrai immediately after prosecutors turned about evidence that experienced been withheld during the demo. Alrai experienced been was uncovered guilty in 2019 of defrauding his employer, the United Way.

Whilst Ford publicly testified in the Craigue case, his name and other determining facts was redacted from the unsealed trial transcripts.

In an buy that grew to become available in January, McCafferty wrote that the public had a proper to know about “several concerns of prosecutorial misconduct” lifted by the situations of Ford’s testimony.

U.S. Legal professional John Farley wrote in a assertion that issues in the Alrai and Craigue conditions do not suggest a broader challenge within his business office.

“As prosecutors, our mission is not to win at all costs, but to guarantee that justice is performed. Every prosecutor in my office is entirely dedicated to that mission,” Farley wrote. He would not remark on any “internal actions” that could possibly be taken as a end result of the Craigue scenario, together with examining scenarios involving Davis or Carroll.

“The Craigue circumstance involved an strange circumstance in which the prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Business did not have specified data prior to trial.

When that information arrived to mild in the course of the Craigue trial, the prosecutors quickly disclosed the details and then took corrective action by relocating to dismiss the indictment,” Farley stated.

Prosecutors hardly ever confront skilled sanctions for misconduct.

An Innocence Job survey of 660 cases in 5 states more than a 5-year period in which courts experienced verified prosecutorial misconduct led to the discipline of just one particular prosecutor.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court Lawyer Willpower Technique testimonials grievances towards attorneys and investigates violations of the Professional Principles of Perform adopted by the New Hampshire Supreme Court docket. Willpower can mean a reprimand, community censure, suspension or disbarment.

In accordance to the system’s research device, which can accessibility 454 community choices released in between 2004 and 2022, no New Hampshire attorneys have confronted experienced discipline for violating a rule termed “special tasks for prosecutors,” such as a prerequisite that prosecutors will have to “make well timed disclosure to the protection of all proof or info known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense.”

Craigue and his lawyers declined to remark for this story.

Ferne Dekker

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