Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert which will discuss the recently filed disciplinary charges filed by the California Bar against former a Los Angeles City Attorney alleging prosecutorial misconduct during a death penalty case that he handled when he was a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney more than 30 years ago. The case is State Bar of California v. Carmen Anthony Trutanich, Case No. 16-O-12803 (filed February 9, 2017) and is here: https://members.calbar.ca.gov/courtDocs/16-O-12803.pdf
The lawyer served as the elected Los Angeles City Attorney from 2009-2013. He was a deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County prior to that time and, while he was a deputy district attorney, he is alleged to have failed to provide exculpatory information in responding to discovery by withholding the true name and address of a witness from the defendant in the People v. Barry Glenn Williams. He is also alleged to have failed to correct a police detective’s false testimony regarding the detective’s investigation in 1985 and a murder witness’ false testimony regarding the name a person who was driving a vehicle during a crime in 1986.
A federal judge cited prosecutorial misconduct in overturning the defendant’s murder conviction and death sentence in 2016, which resulted in a review by the California State Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel. The California Bar is notified when a criminal conviction is reversed because of alleged attorney misconduct.
The lawyer will have an opportunity to respond to the charges, which must be proven by the California Bar and approved by the California Supreme Court before any discipline can be imposed.
Bottom line: This lawyer will be defending very serious allegations that allegedly occurred over 3 decades ago. As you may already know, criminal prosecutors are held to higher ethics standards and have special responsibilities to seek justice and disclose exculpatory information. If these allegations are true, this prosecutor not only failed to provide exculpatory information, but also actively participated in providing false information and testimony in the case. Stay tuned…
Be careful out there.
Disclaimer: this e-mail is not an advertisement, does not contain any legal advice, and does not create an attorney/client relationship and the comments herein should not be relied upon by anyone who reads it.
Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire
Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.
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Clearwater, Florida 33761
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