Those of you who have ever been SAUSAs at the local US Attorney’s Office will be interested to see what your colleagues at DOJ think of you, as set out in this opinion from the Ninth Circuit, U.S. v. Harrison, No. 08-10391. Here is the court’s summary of DOJ’s argument concerning various improper statements by the prosecutor in this case:
Harrison was convicted of assaulting Officer Jenkins and inflicting “bodily injury.” 18 U.S.C. § 111(b).He complains that the prosecutors engaged in improper questioning during cross-examination and improper “vouching” during closing arguments. . . . The government concedes the impropriety of many of these statements, but points out that the prosecutors were Special Assistant United States Attorneys on loan from the military. That’s no excuse at all; when the United States Attorney endows lawyers with the powers of federal prosecutors, he has a responsibility to properly train and supervise them so as to avoid trampling defendants’ rights. Indeed, everyone involved could have done better: The defense attorney should have objected as soon as he saw the prosecutors step out of line. And the respected and experienced district judge should not have tolerated this protracted exhibition of unprofessional conduct.
(emphasis added). Food for thought when they ask for the next SAUSA volunteer. H/t to JO’C and JH.