Legal Ethics

'Karma' Ensnares Four California Prosecutors

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Three California prosecutors have been accused of ethical wrongdoing while a fourth has been suspended.

Donald Steedman, the supervising deputy trial counsel for the state bar, told the Recorder (sub. req.) that it’s unusual to have so many cases pending against prosecutors. He believes the reason is nothing more than “luck, karma.”

Los Angeles lawyer Diane Karpman thinks there is another reason: The public is looking more critically at prosecutors since Durham County District Attorney Michael Nifong was disbarred over his prosecution of three Duke lacrosse players. “Lots of prosecutors are getting caught in the crosshairs,” she told the Recorder.

The suspended prosecutor, former Sonoma County Deputy District Attorney Brooke Halsey Jr., was found to have withheld documents that could have helped a physician defend murder charges, the story says.

It identifies the other prosecutors facing ethics charges as:

–Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Benjamin Field, accused of concealing exculpatory evidence. His lawyer said he looks forward to vindication.

– Santa Cruz County Deputy District Attorney George Dunlap Jr., accused of improperly intervening in a case involving his then-girlfriend. His lawyer said he did nothing wrong.

–Retired Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Cleland, accused of withholding exculpatory evidence.

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