Rogue Federal Prosecutors Hide Behind a Lack of Transparency

June 9, 2014 – In The News
The Daily Business Review

Joseph A. DeMaria was quoted in The Daily Business Review article “Rogue Federal Prosecutors Hide Behind a Lack of Transparency.” While the full text can be found in the June 9, 2014, issue of The Daily Business Review, a synopsis is noted below.

A federal prosecutor developed a “close personal relationship” with a defendant in a case he was prosecuting. The defendant got a sweetheart plea deal and was released from custody.

The public will never know the identity of this prosecutor, nor will it know the names of other rogue assistant U.S. attorneys who have committed unethical acts.

A recent report from the Project on Government Oversight found the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has a policy of not naming problem prosecutors to avoid embarrassing them.

For some criminal defense attorneys, the lack of accountability for federal prosecutors is maddening.

DeMaria, former federal prosecutor, said the government has no problem throwing the lives of their criminal targets upside down by publicizing indictments, “but when their own prosecutors are wrongdoers, they circle the wagons and cover it up.”

He represented American Express Bank International official Sergio Masvidal, who was suing the Justice Department to have his name cleared after a prosecutor had him secretly blackballed from the banking industry.

In pursuing discipline for the prosecutor in the Masvidal case, DeMaria said he had to file a complaint with the prosecutor’s bar association in Maryland after becoming frustrated with the OPR.

He said that prosecutors are given the same protections as other federal workers in the civil service, which makes it hard for bad ones to be fired.

“A prosecutor has the power over citizens to make life and death decisions and should not be given union protection like a postal worker,” DeMaria said.