Legal Ethics

Prosecutor's gun prank leads to suspension

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A Delaware prosecutor with an aversion to the smell of hard-boiled eggs has been suspended for 30 days as a result of a gun prank.

The prosecutor, Deputy Attorney General Adam Gelof, decided to enlist the courthouse security chief to respond to ribbing about Gelof’s egg aversion, the News Journal and the Legal Profession Blog report. The Delaware Supreme Court suspended Gelof in a June 10 opinion (PDF) that included a report by the Board on Professional Responsibility about the February 2015 incident.

As part of a running joke, the board report says, a fellow prosecutor was eating hard-boiled eggs over Gelof’s files in a witness room that served as a workspace in the Sussex County courthouse. Additional eggs were sitting in Gelof’s box of files. The fellow prosecutor and other co-workers laughed when Gelof had the predictable reaction.

Gelof left the room laughing and ran into the courthouse security chief. “Without any evidence of pre-planning or thought,” the board report says, Gelof asked the security chief to go into the room with guns drawn and tell the fellow prosecutor to keep the eggs away from his files.

At first the security chief refused, but finally agreed to comply. In the meantime, a police detective had entered the room and was in a position where he only saw a handgun past the edge of the door. For a split second, the detective perceived a threat. The detective heard laughter, however, before he could reach his weapon and didn’t draw the gun.

An investigation followed. The courthouse security chief was placed on administrative leave and demoted when he returned to work. Gelof was also demoted to an entry level position that carried a 20 percent pay cut.

Gelof has “offered his uncontroverted expressions of remorse and regret,” according to the board report.

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