We all have had clients who have been through a long journey in the criminal justice system. By the time they reach the trial or sentencing stage, the lawyer, having seen the toll the prosecution has taken, often tells the court that their client has suffered enough. In REGJB lingo "You can beat the rap but you can't beat the ride."
"They've suffered enough" is not a cognizable defense. Judges might nod sympathetically, but prosecutors normally scoff at such a pronouncement and respond with "they shouldn't have committed the crime" or some other pearl of wisdom they teach in prosecutor college.
It therefore was more than a bit surprising when attorneys for disgraced federal prosecutors Sean Cronin and Andrea Hoffman told US District Court Judge Jose Martinez last week that their clients "had been through hell."
Cronin and Hoffman were part of the prosecutorial team that wrongfully prosecuted Dr. Ali Shaygan. Here is our initial post on the case in April. 2009. Cronin was the lead prosecutor who threatened attorney David Markus that there would be a "seismic shift" in the criminal prosecution if Markus filed a motion to suppress Dr. Shaygan's statement. Markus filed the motion, Cronin filed a hundred or so new counts in retaliation. The magistrate granted the motion, which caused the US attorneys office to pull out all the stops and throw out the constitution in order to win.
In preparation for trial, the US Attorneys office authorized the taping of phone calls by a government informant to the defense team. The prosecutors sent their informant to try and get the defense attorneys to agree to do something improper. Then, the prosecutors never disclosed their little illicit ruse until Markus discovered it on cross examination.
Dr. Shaygan was acquitted by a jury. Judge Gold, who presided at the trial, wrote a blistering order detailing the improper if not illegal actions of the government's prosecutors. The prosecutors appealed. When the 11th circuit returned the case, Judge Gold recused himself and Judge Martinez held a hearing last week. Hence the curdled mewling from the prosecutors' lawyers that they "had suffered enough" and "been through hell."
Poor babies. Of course they never were wrongfully arrested, spent time in jail, lost their job, were threatened by the DEA and their hired thugs (the AUSAs), and had to sit through a jury trial where the other side used the power of the government to lie, cheat and steal a guilty verdict that would have sent them to prison for decades.
No, prosecutors Cronin and Hoffman didn't have to suffer the same treatment from the legal system that they doled out. But.....they've apparently been a bit worried. That's what happens when you get caught doing bad things.
Judge Martinez, apparently reluctantly, closed the case against the two prosecutors. But there still is a bar complaint pending against both prosecutors, courtesy of Judge Gold who, based on the conduct he saw, referred the issue to the Florida Bar.
As we say in the REGJB, "You can beat the rap, but you can't beat the ride."
See You In Court.