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Tag: Judge Mark Wolf

Boston Federal Judges To Teach Classes on Turning Over Evidence as a Result of Recent Case

Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf

Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges in Boston will get an education about turning over evidence to the defense for trial. The issue recently became a hot-button topic and an embarrassment when the Justice Department voided the conviction in Washington of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens after the prosecution failed to turn over evidence to the defense.

Chief U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf in Boston announced that two judges will hold educational classes in the fall on turning over evidence for trial in response to a recent case in Boston in which Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Sullivan failed to turn over evidence to the defense , the Boston Globe reported.

Sullivan acknowledged to the judge that she withheld evidence in trial that could have cleared a defendant in a gun case. Wolf had planned to sanction her, but on on Monday said she appeared contrite and would hold off on taking any action against her or the U.S. Attorney’s Office for at  least six months, the Globe reported.

Judge Wolf had concluded that Sullivan’s actions were inadvertent,  but  “inexcusable”  and showed a  “fundamentally flawed understanding of her obligations, or a reckless disregard of them”, he the Globe reported.

Wolf said repeated failures by Massachusetts federal prosecutors “made him doubt that the Justice Department was adequately training prosecutors”, the Globe reported.

Boston Fed Prosecutor Admits Withholding Evidence: Judge Says He Sees Pattern in the U.S. Atty’s Office

Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf

Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf

Maybe we’re just noticing this problem more since the Justice Department moved to void the conviction of ex-U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens. But it seems to be popping up a lot all around the country as of late. In this case, the federal judge said he saw a pattern of this in the Boston U.S. Attorney’s office. If true, the problem could open the doors to more successful appeals by criminals.

By Jonathan Saltzman
Boston Globe
BOSTON — A federal prosecutor acknowledged yesterday that she withheld evidence that could have helped clear a defendant in a gun case but said it was an inadvertent mistake and implored the chief judge of the US District Court in Massachusetts not to impose sanctions that could derail her career.

“It is my mistake. . . . It rests on my shoulders,” a composed Suzanne Sullivan, assistant US attorney, told Judge Mark L. Wolf in a dramatic hearing in Boston that lasted more than two hours. “I also ask the court to give me the opportunity to rebuild my reputation.”

But Wolf said he was considering several sanctions because he was so appalled by Sullivan’s lapse and by what he characterized as a pattern of prosecutors in the US attorney’s office withholding evidence.

The potential sanctions ranged from fining her – which prosecutors said no federal judge in the country has done for a lapse of Sullivan’s type – to an order that she and perhaps all 90 criminal prosecutors in the office undergo additional training about their constitutional duty to share such evidence with defendants.

“It’s unpardonable, and if I don’t find it deliberate, I find it’s at least ignorance and reckless disregard,” he said at the hearing at which he also criticized as ineffectual the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

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