This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.
Prosecutors are expected to be tough advocates in going after the bad guys, but when that zeal turns into "win at all costs" behavior, justice is not served.
U.S. District Judge Alan Gold used that term, "win at all costs," to describe the egregious misconduct of three U.S. prosecutors in an exhaustive 50-page reprimand last week. The judge was justifiably outraged by the way prosecutors Sean Cronin, Karen Gilbert and Andrea Hoffman handled a narcotics case against a Miami Beach doctor.
The prosecutors conducted a secret investigation of the defendant's attorneys, using informers to try to entrap them into bribery. They taped the defense attorneys' conversations, but all they got was lawyers saying No to the informers' invitations to commit bribery.
The prosecutors then used their informers as witnesses in the trial, asserting that they were impartial and neutral, which could hardly be the case since they had tried to help set up the defense team. The prosecutors neglected to tell the judge or their boss, the U.S. attorney, about their extra-curricular venture. When the defense team wasn't cooperative enough, the prosecutors became vengeful. They increased the original 26 charges to 141.
None of this worked. A witness revealed the bribery entrapment scheme on the stand. The defense used this to argue that the prosecutors had a weak case. The jury agreed, and the defendant was found not guilty on all counts.
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