Thursday, June 5, 2008

9th Circuit Blasts U.S. Prosecutor for Withholding Documents

San Francisco, Calif. - Roundly denouncing a Las Vegas federal prosecutor for withholding 650 pages of evidence potentially helpful to two lawyers charged in a stock fraud case, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld dismissal of all 64 charges and refused to allow a retrial.

"This is prosecutorial misconduct in its highest form; conduct in flagrant disregard of the United States Constitution; and conduct which should be deterred by the strongest sanction available," wrote Judge Kim Wardlaw.

The panel found the Nevada U.S. Attorney's Office violated the constitutional obligation to turn over potentially exculpatory information to the defense under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963).

Five men, including attorneys Daniel Chapman and Sean Flanagan, were charged in 2003 in a 64-count indictment of a complex securities trading scheme called a "box job," in which a small group secretly control corporate shares and manipulate stock through straw officers and shareholders, according to the opinion in U.S. v. Chapman, 2008 WL 1946744.

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