Bronx Judge Chastises and Banishes Prosecutor for Failing to Share Exculpatory Evidence With Rape Defendant

Bronx County District Attorney's OfficeBronx County District Attorney's OfficeThe New York Daily News highlights a Bronx judge's angry banishment of a prosecutor who failed to comply with Brady v. Maryland, the 1963 decision in which the Supreme Court said due process requires the state to share potentially exculpatory evidence with defendants. The Bronx case involved Segundo Marquez, a man accused of rape who was held for eight months at Rikers Island pending trial. At the end of the two-week trial, a supervisor in the Bronx County District Attorney's Office informed Criminal Court Judge John Wilson that the prosecution had decided to drop the case in light of recently discovered evidence: a note indicating that Marquez's accuser initially told police the sexual encounter was consensual. The note had been in the prosecution's file all along, but Assistant District Attorney Megan Teesdale said she had overlooked it. That information prompted this extraordinary rebuke from Wilson:

I was admitted to the bar in April of 1987, and I was, at the time, an assistant district attorney in the Bronx DA's office. I've always been very proud of that association, until today...

I have now been on this bench nine years and three months. In all that time as a prosecutor, as defense attorney, as judge, I've never seen a Brady violation as egregious as this. To my mind, this is an utter and complete disgrace—not just for you, but for your office in general. Disgrace.

The excuse you offer, passing the file back and forth, no one looking and no one knowing what anything is, saddens me on one level and makes me sick on another. For my own peace of mind, I absolutely refuse to believe that you did this on purpose. However, it is gross negligence on yor part to have not found this information and turned it over to Defense, and for your supervisor to find it and turn it over right after defense summations. I emphasize those words: gross negligence. 

I recall the defense asking before the trial started for any notes that the People had in their possession, and you blithely said, "No, we don't have any notes." It turned out, unfortunately, to be a lie. Your actions bring disgrace to both your office and to yourself.

But what really concerns me more than anything else is: Where is the justice for your complaining witness? Where is her justice? She had the right to have this case heard by a jury and have the jury decide whether or not they believed her allegations. She's lost her chance at that justice due to your conduct.

What about his justice? The defendant had a right to have a jury decide whether or not they believed those allegations. Where is his justice waiting for his trial? You have failed on so many levels, so many levels. 

Here are your sanctions: You are going to leave this courtroom, and you're never going to come back. You can't appear before me anymore. I'll tell you why: because I cannot trust anything you say or do. I can't believe you. I can't believe your credibility anymore. The only thing a lawyer ever has to offer is their integrity and their credibility, and when you've lost that, there is no purpose in your appearing before this court. Step out.

The Daily News adds that "defense attorneys in the Bronx say the slip up is a common ploy used by prosecutors to get convictions." Marquez's attorney told the paper, "This situation, while egregious, reflects a larger problem endemic to our criminal justice system."

More evidence of that problem: the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office in Louisiana, where prosecutors have a long history of Brady violations 

[Thanks to E. Everett Bartlett, director of the Center for Prosecutor Integrity, for the tip.]

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  • PD Scott||

    Did he sell his soul at a crossroads for his law degree?

  • ||

    So many more judges need to do this. Fuck scumbag lying prosecutors who will destroy people's lives to burnish their own resume.

  • John||

    yes. And bar associations need to actually disbar people for doing something other than stealing clients' money. This chick criminally negligent and it caused an innocent man to rot in jail for 8 months. She has no business being an attorney.

    The judge was right to kick her out of his court. She doesn't belong in any court not just his.

  • Specail Sauce||

    You're missing the big picture here.

    The real question is if this female prosecutor is paid equally compared to her male prosecutor counterparts?

  • Brett L||

    Wait, there's a guild sin beyond literally stealing from people whose trust you manage?

  • Agammamon||

    Stealing from you client isn't a lawyer sin - getting *caught* stealing from your clients is.

  • rts||

    Integrity and credibility or GTFO

  • Soros' Wank-noose||

    The alt-text ought to be "America! Fuck Yeah!"

    A damn fine moment for this judge. Let's hope there's plenty more. And from others.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Hey! A judge I like!

  • Andrew S.||

    Saw this yesterday, had meant to post it in one of the links threads, but server squirrels made sure I couldn't.

    Well done, judge. That's one helluva great transcript to read.

  • kmc212||

    Will Assistant District Attorney Megan Teesdale be held accountable and charges be brought against her? No. But there should be.

  • Robert||

    Bob Johnson's a good guy too, so I suspect she will be.

  • Zeb||

    That is just awesome. Put this guy on the Supreme Court. Actually, no. Keep him in trial courts where he can keep bitch-slapping dishonest prosecutors.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Wow, this doesn't happen very much. Of course, it would be better if the attorney were being sanctioned and disciplined.

  • db||

    Man exonerated after 25 years in prison for a murder he did not commit after his attorney finds a hotel receipt confirming he was at Disney World when the victim was killed in Brooklyn, NY. Prosecutors successfully argued that even though he had.plane tickets and reservations, that he could not.prove he.was.not.in NY during the murder. A woman recanted her testimony as an eyewitness to the shooting years after his.conviction, saying she.was coerced by cops to testify against the. man, however, he lost his appeals anyway.

    The cops.found the.receipt.in.his.pocket when.he was arrested, and never turned.it.over to the defense.

    I want to see the cops, the prosecutors, and the "witness" brought up on charges, but we will never see that, will we?

  • Zeb||

    I want them to be punished just as I would be if I snatched someone up off the street and locked them in my basement for 25 years.
    And no, we will never see that. We're lucky if these fucks lose their jobs.

  • John||

    I will only say this because she deserves it. Check out her picture in the Daily News story

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new.....-1.1746238

    Is it possible that maybe she got her job because of skills other than being a good attorney? She clearly isn't a good attorney. So she must have brought something to the table.

  • prolefeed||

    Not sure what your point is here. She looks terrible in that picture.

  • John||

    You obviously have not seen many DAs. Two words, Nancy Grace.

  • Mr.Krinkle||

    Good job, Judge.

    Now we need judges to ignore 'mandatory sentences' when they are inappropriate.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    For my own peace of mind, I absolutely refuse to believe that you did this on purpose.

    Of course. Then you might have to see the bullshit inherent in the system.

  • Mr.Krinkle||

    What he just said also touches on why no American jury will utter the word 'Guilty' when a cop is on trial for murder.

    It's WAY too uncomfortable.

  • John||

    She didn't do it on purpose. If she had, she just would have thrown the note away and the guy would have been convicted.

    She is just this incompetent.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    If only we could figure out a way to public cashier prosecutors who betray the justice system like this.

    But there absolutely needs to be public humiliation and contempt heaped upon them.

  • PD Scott||

    A public ceremony where their law degree is torn up, the tassels on their mortarboard burned. Then they have to run an obstacle course as an ambulance chases them.

  • John||

    One other point. I don't think she did this on purpose. If she had, she would have just thrown the note away or never told the judge about it. She missed it. She missed it because she is incompetent and no doubt because she is totally over worked and never has time to spend on any one case. The biggest reason for that is because the drug war ensures she is over worked. Take away the drug war and prosecutors and defense attorneys might have the time to actually work on cases like these.

    In some ways, this guy is just another victim of the drug war, if only indirectly.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Oh no.

    You said "overworked". Typical government excuse - their budgets are just too small to hire enough people.

    The drug war comment though makes sense - the better workers are put on the more lucrative cases since there's bigger fines and asset forfeiture and shit.

    And that is something the judge should have pointed out: "Do you know why they gave you the rape case? Because you are too incompetent to handle to important drug cases."

  • John||

    I am not defending her. I am just saying the reason why someone like her gets hired and works so many cases is because we hire so many DAs and have so many cases. And that is largely due to the drug war.

    And you think DAs in a place like Brooklyn are not overworked, you are just dead wrong. They handle hundreds of cases and cases in such volume no one could do a good job on every one of them no matter how good they were.

  • Invisible Finger||

    For my own peace of mind, I absolutely refuse to believe that you did this on purpose.

    That's an awful fucked-up definition of "peace of mind".

  • Invisible Finger||

    You are going to leave this courtroom, and you're never going to come back. You can't appear before me anymore.

    IANAL, so if I can get a answer from a lawyer...

    Does this mean she's essentially useless as a prosecutor, or is she just never going to be heard by THIS SPECIFIC judge? If the latter, that might be part of the prosecutor's tactic - to get this judge less often since he obviously has higher standards than typical. (I'm assuming the Bronx has more than one judge to choose from.)

  • Andrew S.||

    The judge has the power to ban her from his own courtroom, which he's seemingly done here. He does not, however, have the power to ban her from other courtrooms.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Toss her in the clink for contempt.

  • R C Dean||

    recently discovered evidence: a note indicating that Marquez's accuser initially told police the sexual encounter was consensual.

    One of these things does not go with the other.

  • crazyfingers||

    Remember, the _real_ tragedy is not that this poor schlub was unduly locked up for 8 months, but that the prosecutor's misconduct denied the "victim" a chance at "justice".

  • Paul.||

    Wow, he awarded her no points, and wished for God to have mercy on her soul.

  • Rob||

  • Paul.||

    The Daily News adds that "defense attorneys in the Bronx say the slip up is a common ploy used by prosecutors to get convictions."

    Yep, remember the whole thing where the woman was on the no-fly list for years, her daughter ended up on the no-fly list when she tried to come and testify on her mother's no-fly list status, and in the end, whoops, it all turned out to be the wrong boxes checked on a form, nothing to see here, move along.

    This is the exact kind of rebuke that the TSA/Homeland Security should have gotten, but didn't. It wasn't the wrong boxes checked, they just threw that out there as red meat for the dogs so they could slip quietly by and continue the same process.

    "Oh THAT exculpatory evidence. Heh, our bad!"

    No, if the TSA people in charge of that no-fly list had been hanged by the neck until dead, I guaran-damn-tee you the no-fly list would be a lot harder to get on, and much easier to get off.

  • Robert||

    John Wilson is a political friend of mine whom I helped get elected judge. He's a member of the Bronx Conservative Party who pulled off a great upset by winning the Democratic primary 10 yrs. ago.

    Bronx DA Robert Johnson has also been endorsed several times by us. Too bad we can't say that about his whole office, but when I hear about the crap pulled by prosecutors elsewhere in NY state (and world), his office stands out as good.

  • UnCivilServant||

    I'm shocked that a NYC judge did the right thing. Usually they're corrupt SoBs who sell rulings to lawyers. Can we start to hold the other judges to this standard now?

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