Legal Ethics

DC discipline board recommends 30-day suspension for former federal prosecutor

Corrected: The District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility has recommended an assistant U.S. attorney be suspended for failing to disclose some information in a criminal case back in 2001, according to Main Justice and The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.

Andrew Kline no longer works for the Justice Department, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting him in the discipline proceedings. Kline had failed to tell the defense in a criminal case stemming from a drive-by shooting that the victim had said in the hospital that he didn’t see who shot him. The victim later named the defendant as the shooter at trial. The board wrote (PDF) that the sanction is a “means of both protecting the public and deterring future prosecutors from engaging in similarly egregious conduct.”

Kline can argue against the suspension when the D.C. Court of Appeals considers finalizing the board’s recommendation. Professional responsibility lawyers likely will be watching to see if the DOJ continues to push arguments made in its amicus brief (PDF), such as challenging a discipline rule, 3.8(e), which it said is broader than Kline’s disclosure obligations under the Constitution.

The D.C. court has jurisdiction because federal prosecutors handle the equivalent of state criminal cases in the D.C. courts.

Updated Aug. 6 to correctly name the D.C. Court of Appeals.

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