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Legal Ethics

Prosecutors suspended for mistakes in Sen. Stevens prosecution win administrative appeal

Posted Apr 8, 2013 11:44 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Two prosecutors suspended for failing to disclose exculpatory evidence in the failed 2008 corruption trial of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens have won an appeal before an administrative judge.

Administrative Judge Benjamin Gutman said in an opinion issued on Friday that the Justice Department violated its own procedures calling for a rank-and-file lawyer to decide whether the prosecutors committed misconduct, the New York Times reports. Gutman overturned the suspensions for prosecutors Joseph Bottin and James Goeke in the appeal before the Merit Systems Protection Board.

Bottini was originally suspended for 40 days and Goeke for 15 days when the chief of the Justice Department’s Professional Misconduct Review Unit disagreed with a review lawyer’s conclusions and imposed the punishment for reckless conduct.

The rank-and-file lawyer who conducted the initial review had decided the lawyers’ mistakes did not amount to official misconduct.

Stevens died in a 2010 plane crash.

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