Earlier this week we highlighted an opinion-editorial in The Huffington Post about prosecutorial misconduct in the Danziger Bridge case which has led to five New Orleans police having their criminal convictions overturned. The U.S. Attorney’s office led by Jim Letten which handled the Danziger Bridge prosecutions fell apart at the seams last year after it was revealed that Letten’s right-hand men and women were posting information about his office’s cases in the comments section of nola.com under pseudonyms.
The Danziger Bridge case is only the latest to crumble under the weight of the prosecutors’ misconduct. However, recent developments show that it was not just Letten’s office getting involved in online commentary.
Karla Dobinski, a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C, also posted comments on nola.com according to evidence revealed by a federal judge in his opinion overturning the Danziger Bridge convictions last week. The special prosecutor charged with conducting an investigation into Letten’s office discovered Dobinski’s comments, which are posted in nola.com‘s article about Dobinski here.
According to nola.com, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt said Dobinski’s comments “weighed heavily in his decision to throw out the convictions, saying they were a ‘wanton reckless course of action.'”
More from nola.com:
Dobinski wasn’t just any federal prosecutor. She was the “taint team leader,” charged with ensuring that the rights of one of the police officers, Kenneth Bowen, were not violated during the course of the investigation. Bowen had provided some information to a state grand jury, data that was off limits in the federal case.
Dobinski’s role was to help federal prosecutors determine what they could permissibly use, and the judge noted he relied on her testimony to allow in certain evidence against Bowen.
“With regard to this case, this crucial responsibility was Dobinski’s professed single mission: to protect a defendant from use of his compelled testimony by the government,” Engelhardt wrote.
Dobinski is expected to face internal disciplinary action after a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice told nola.com that it had referred the online posts to the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility. Dobinski’s lawyer says his client self-reported her comments to the office.
Read more about the overturning of the Danziger Bridge convictions here.