Legal Ethics

Prosecutor is accused of adding admission of guilt to transcript; he said it was a joke


A California prosecutor is facing an ethics complaint that alleges he added an admission of guilt to a transcript provided to the suspect’s public defender.

Deputy District Attorney Robert Murray of Kern County has said he was joking when he sent the altered transcript to a deputy public defender, and he knew the deputy PD would catch the change, the Bakersfield Californian reports. The ethics complaint (PDF), filed June 16, alleges Murray added these lines:

[Officer]: You’re so guilty you child molester.

The deputy public defender, Ernest Hinman, told the judge about the change, leading to the dismissal of the charges against the suspect, who was accused of lewd or lascivious behavior with a child younger than 14 years old, according to the Bakersfield Californian.

Murray’s lawyer, Jonathan Arons, acknowledged in his response to the complaint (PDF) that the translation included extraneous comments not made by the defendant, but denied that the suspect’s rights were violated.

A settlement conference is scheduled for Aug. 26.

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