Criminal Justice

The Justice Department Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny a Prosecutor's Existence

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In my post today about a drug smuggling case that was dismissed with prejudice because of a federal prosecutor's tricky editing of a hearing transcript, I noted that one of the appeals court judges who heard the case was surprised to learn that the assistant U.S. attorney responsible for this egregious misrepresentation, Jerry Albert, was still employed by the Justice Department. That hearing was last November, so I wondered whether Albert was still prosecuting cases, half a year after the 9th Circuit recommended that the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility investigate his misconduct and two months after the trial judge threw out the smuggling charges. That seems like an easy enough question to answer with a phone call, right? Wrong. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona, on whose behalf Albert prosecuted the smuggling case, won't tell me whether he still works there. Here is the response I received from William Solomon, the office's acting public affairs officer:

Mr. Sullum,

I cannot provide you personnel information for either current or former employees.  If you would like to make a Freedom of Information Act request, the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) processes all such requests for information from United States Attorneys' Offices throughout the country.  Specifically, Shirley Botts handles those requests.  Her contact information is:

Shirley Botts

Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys

Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Unit

600 "E" Street, NW Room 7300

Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Have a nice afternoon.

Bill

Most. Transparent. Administration. Ever.

Update: T-Bomb reports in the comments that a Pacer search shows "Jerry Albert is currently representing the government in 103 open cases in the District of Arizona." That was definitely faster than filing a FOIA request.