Kansas US Atty’s Office Held In Contempt For Resisting Probe

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Professor Bruce Green was quoted in a Law360 article about the investigation into misconduct by the Kansas U.S. attorney’s office.

A Kansas federal judge held the Kansas U.S. attorney’s office in contempt for obstructing an investigation into prosecutors’ practice of listening to calls between inmates and their defense attorneys, saying the conduct was driven by “dysfunction and strife” and the ruling could impact scores of criminal cases.

In a sweeping 188-page order issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson said federal prosecutors in Kansas refused to cooperate with a special master’s three-year investigation and “easily” violated multiple court orders by stonewalling and failing to preserve evidence.

Judge Robinson partially blamed the alleged systemic prosecutorial misconduct on Kansas prosecutors’ deep distrust of management, which she said seemingly pushed prosecutors “to the point of insubordination.”

She noted that one prosecutor described the Kansas City division as an “inmates-run-the-jail” type office and another testified that it was a “Lord of the Flies” environment, driving prosecutors to record their conversations, store files and notes at home and ignore management’s direction that they can’t listen to inmates’ calls with attorneys.

Fordham University legal ethics professor Bruce Green told Law360 Wednesday the alleged systemic prosecutorial misconduct breeds contempt for the law and it calls into question the work of good prosecutors.

“The Department of Justice must implement new processes to ensure, going forward, that misconduct on this scale is unlikely to recur,” he said.

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