2011 Worst Prosecutor of the Year Award

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Put your nominations in the comments. I’ll pick a half dozen or so finalists, and we’ll vote on Monday.

Past winners Forrest Allgood and Tanya Treadway are no longer eligible. Qualifying misdeeds needn’t all taken place this year. They can be cumulative, or have just come to light this year.

I highlighted a few good prosecutors in a piece for Reason earlier this year. If you have other suggestions of someone to highlight this year, please leave that in the comments as well.

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27 Responses to “2011 Worst Prosecutor of the Year Award”

  1. #1 |  Paul L. | 

    Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams Is A Thug

  2. #2 |  Kristen | 

    Ousted Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas

  3. #3 |  Ariel | 

    I’ll second Maricopa County’s Andrew Thomas with Lisa Aubuchon thrown in.

  4. #4 |  william | 

    Got to be Ken Anderson of Williamson County Texas. Railroaded Michael Morton for the murder of his wife. Hid plainly exculpatory evidence from the defense (including the fact that the couple’s son witnessed the murder and said that “Daddy wasn’t home). Hid the same evidence from the trial judge and the appeals court. Blatantly misrepresented forensic science evidence at trial. Subsequently appointed to judge and leaned on his hand-picked successor to oppose DNA testing.

    Wrote a book in which the Morton trial was a key topic and in which he bragged about his attention to detail and his open file policy regarding Brady issues. Was deposed when it all unravelled 25 years later – claimed in the depo that he took a lot of artistic license in the book and that he didn’t remember nothin’.

    And the clincher – 1 1/2 years after Morton’s conviction another woman was killed in the same area by someone who’s DNA was at the Morton crime scene. Held a press conference at which he apologized to Morton because he was failed by the system with no mention of Anderson’s role as lynchpin of the system.

  5. #5 |  Mark | 

    Paul Ebert is the C.A. for Prince William County, Va is less truthful than a hamsandwich.

  6. #6 |  D.C. Russell | 

    There are probably more deserving and recent candidates, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to nominate Jack B. Johnson, arrested by the feds while serving as county executive of Prince George’s County, Maryland, and recently sentenced to over seven years Johnson was the county prosecutor for eight years before running for county executive.

  7. #7 |  Bren | 

    Anita Alvarez! Cook county state’s Attn. She’s responsible for the Tiawanda Moore outrage, has been a consistant advocate against getting innocent people out of jail on DNA evidence, and successfully destroyed the career of the guy, Protess, who ran the innocence project at Northwestern U, which freed dozens of innocent people.

  8. #8 |  Best-of-2011 lists and awards | 

    […] on best criminal law blawg post, Faces of Lawsuit Abuse (Chamber) on most ridiculous lawsuits, Balko on worst […]

  9. #9 |  the innominate one | 

    Harry Connick, Sr.


    plus, he inflicted Harry Connick, Jr. on the world

  10. #10 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    I can’t believe Mr. Contagious Semen, Mike Mermel ( http://www.theagitator.com/2011/12/01/mike-mermel-dna-fabulist/ ), hasn’t been nominated yet, so I’ll do the [dis]honors.

  11. #11 |  Whatwhatwhat | 


  12. #12 |  FloO | 

    Do Ed Jagels and Janet Reno qualify for a lifetime achievement award? Reno’s “Miami method” made men everywhere afraid of their own children.

  13. #13 |  the innominate one | 

    When it comes to shitty prosecutors, the U.S. has an embarrassment of riches.

  14. #14 |  Jon | 

    I nominate Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall – In 2010 she used tax payer money to campaign against a citizen’s intiative (prop 203) that allowed seriously ill patients to use marijuana to help them. After she paraded the heads of several drug treatment centers around campaigning against it, her office announced grants of over $1 million dollars to these organizations. Prop 203 passed in Pima County by well over a majority and it passed statewide. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFDjTJr5p6w

  15. #15 |  Sensible San Diego | 

    I nominate Bonnie Dumanis, San Diego County Attorney.

  16. #16 |  Tucson First | 

    I nominate Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall of Tucson- Her office stood behind the gunning down of Veteran Jose Guerena ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/25/jose-guerena-arizona-_n_867020.html ) and her office staff was involved in a cover up in the murder of Physician Brian Stidham ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Brian_Stidham )

  17. #17 |  Bill Roberts | 

    Spokane prosecutor Steve Tucker, for refusing to prosecute a Spokane Sheriff’s Department deputy for the murder of 74-year-old church pastor and business owner Scott Wayne Creach. Because, of course, Deputy Brian Hirzel “has more protection under the law” than us lowly citizenry.

    Eric Holder, who oversaw the “Fast and Furious” program and now seems to be suffering from amnesia, ought to get some sort of award, too.

  18. #18 |  Dan | 

    FWIW: I second the nomination of Ken Anderson.

  19. #19 |  C.E. | 

    Third on Ken Anderson, but why not John Bradley as his running mate? He not only fought tooth and nail to prevent Michael Morton’s exoneration, but didn’t he also try to keep the Texas Forensic Science Commission from examining the Cameron Todd Willingham case?

  20. #20 |  John Regan | 

    I’m not sure I can compete with Ken Anderson at #4, and maybe I’m too close to the situation, but framing a girl raped by one of his informants and lying and cheating all the way to her conviction and imprisonment has to earn at least an honorable mention for Livingston County (NY) District Attorney and now state supreme court judge Tom Moran:


  21. #21 |  Whim | 

    I hereby nominate Williamson County, Texas DA John Bradley. He led a tireless effort fighting Michael Morton’s DNA testing, and the release of exculpatory records, as well as his role in quashing the investigation into the Todd Willingham arson-murder case.

    Mr. Morton was released from a Texas prison in October after serving 25 years in prison for killing his wife. Mr. Bradley is the only reason he spent the last five years in prison.

    P.S. DNA evidence exonerated Mr. Morton in the death of his wife.

  22. #22 |  KevinM | 

    I’ll re-nominate Pat Lykos of Harris County, Tx as a GOOD DA of the year. She has drawn the ire and fire of the police establishment for not prosecuting trumped up “residue” charges, amongst other ethical progress in what had been a very crooked DA organization.

  23. #23 |  william | 

    Yeah, I thought about Bradley as a co-nominee. In his defense (can’t believe I used the word “defense” related to JB), he was relying on the word of his mentor, the Honorable Judge Anderson. Anderson created the problem, so I figure he beats Bradley for the nomination.

    Besides, Bradley is going to get what’s coming to him. For those not following the story, DNA on a bloody bandana proved Morton’s innocence. Bradley has an opponent in the primary coming up in March, and somebody or a group of somebodies in Williamson County is hanging bandanas on Bradley’s campaign signs. Wish I knew who was doing it so I could send them a package of bandanas.

  24. #24 |  John Thacker | 

    Durham, NC District Attorney Tracey Cline (who replaced the equally terrible Mike Nifong) has had a whole series of articles about her in the local paper. Among her crimes are destroying evidence, lying to judges, and so forth.

  25. #25 |  John Regan | 

    John Thacker @#24:

    “..and so forth.” LOL That’s about the size of it. It’s treated like it mundane every day stuff.

  26. #26 |  ArthurKC | 

    Ken Hulshof…Missouri…big shot Republican former Congressman…responsible for three, at least, wrongful murder convictions and life sentences. See the “Controversies” section: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Hulshof

  27. #27 |  Fishmonger Dave | 

    Seriously, folks – hands down, Bradley and Anderson from Texas for their openly criminal actions in reference to Michael Morton.

    They should be disgraced, disbarred, and suffer until the day they day when the Lord can thereafter condemn them to hell. They knowingly prosecuted an innocent man, deprived a child of his father, a father of his son, a murdered wife of justice… and their actions lead to at least one other killing.

    There’s no contest here…. just read up on Michael Morton’s case.