Lawyers: Misconduct, Conspiracy should be Investigated- Bullet #147

Posted by

Lawyers: Misconduct, Conspiracy should be Investigated- MJEOL Bullet #147 Lawyers representing attorney Gary Dunlap are requesting an investigation into the practices and possible misconduct of current district attorney Tom Sneddon and members of his staff in his 2003 case. A California paper, the Lompoc Record, is reporting that Dunlap’s attorneys sent a 3 page “scathing” letter about Sneddon’s misconduct to the California Attorney General’s office, the California State Bar, the US Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, the Santa Barbara County Counsel of Grand Jury, and others, which denunciates Sneddon and his alleged henchmen. Gary Dunlap, as you remember, is the attorney who is suing Sneddon and the county for $10M. Sneddon allegedly tried to get rid of Dunlap by filing false charges against him because he was winning too many excessive force cases against the local police department. Dunlap went to trial and was acquitted last June 2003 on all felony charges against him. In a May 10 2004 report, Dunlap’s attorney says: “What they did was they attacked a successful criminal defense attorney from practicing his profession” (see article). During his trial, Dunlap and his attorneys documented a number of highly disturbing actions perpetrated by Sneddon and some of his staff; including Gerald Franklin, another prosecution that is currently on the Jackson “case”. At one point, even the judge presiding over Dunlap’s case commented about the misconduct; likening it to the conduct of a character in a John Grisham novel. That illegal conduct, according to Dunlap, included conspiracy, illegally recording his conversations, edited those conversations, and deceiving the count. In that scathing 3 page letter, Dunlap’s attorney wrote:

In my opinion, the matters to be investigated are the possible criminal violations of several felony and misdemeanor statutes, including conspiracy, illegal taping, deceiving a court and a prosecutor illegally assisting the defense of a case (seearticle).

The goal of the letter is to get the proper authorities to step in and investigate the blatant misconduct going on in Santa Barbara, some say. Speaking about the case, the attorney representing the county said that Sneddon and his employees are “immune” from legal action stemming from these allegations according to the Lompoc Record. Whether or not civil legal action can be taken against Sneddon, Franklin and the rest, there’s no doubt that corrupt officials can and have been removed from office because of their misconduct. Depending on the seriousness of the crime, some have even been arrested, prosecuted and jailed themselves. It was reported that a U.S. District Court judge has upheld the majority of Dunlap’s lawsuit against Sneddon, clearing the way for him to pursue the case against the allegedly corrupt Santa Barbara conspirators. In that lawsuit, Dunlap’s attorneys revealed that he was the victim of a setup—a conspiracy, if you will—by the district attorney’s office; an office which acted illegally, violated attorney/client privilege (sound familiar?), and engaged in other misconduct. Besides Tom Sneddon and Gerald Franklin, the misconduct/conspiracy suit also names Assistant DA Christie Schultz-Stanley; Deputy DAs Kevin Duffy, Jerry McBeth, John T McKinnon, Josh Webb; and District Attorney Investigators Mary Brizzolara and Timothy Rooney (remember that name, folks). These nine alleged conspirators have yet to directly comment to the media on this case. Dunlap, however, has had some interesting things to say about Sneddon and Co. During a radio interview at the beginning of the year, Dunlap reveals that Sneddon is no stranger to having lawsuits filed against him. He says that there was a specific case in which the complainant won a judgment for “several hundred thousand dollars” against him. Dunlap who has no opinion one way or the other about whether Jackson is guilty or innocent, also candidly reveals that the mere fact Sneddon is prosecuting Jackson makes him suspicious of Sneddon’s motive. In fact, because of his own run-in with Sneddon’s tactics, Dunlap says that the county does “vindictive prosecutions on a routine basis.” Sources say this is a theme that has been echoed by a number of people. This also gives credence to what many people believe is going on with the prosecution of Michael Jackson. While he admits that he once represented an employee who sued Jackson, he also says that there’s not a question in his mind that Jackson is being “overly targeted” by prosecutors. Dunlap also claims that a part of the suspicious activity and misconduct included weird happenings during the grand jury process in his case. If one were to read the grand jury transcripts and compare them to the actual trial transcript, they would read nothing alike, says Dunlap:

And in my case, if you read the grand jury transcript and then you compared it with the jury trial transcript, there is virtually no similarity. In my own case, the grand jury indictment transcript is farcical. (see article)

Dunlap goes on further to explain why the “farcical” grand jury proceeding constituted misconduct:

I mean, the grand jurors asked questions because my case, it sounded a little fishy to a few of the grand jurors and they asked for an explanation. And the district attorney basically said, that’s not important. There were some things that sort of stood out as exculpatory or, you know, exonerating towards me. And a few of the grand jurors asked about, ‘well, what about this?’ Or, ‘what about that?’ And the district attorney said, ‘well, you’re just supposed to ignore that’. ‘Don’t worry about that’. ‘You know, we’ll try to get around to explaining that later’, which they never did.

Could this same conduct have happened in the Jackson case? Could prosecutors have told grand jurors to essentially dismiss or ignore the exculpatory evidence given to them by the defense? Did they even present the information to grand jurors? From what Dunlap says, if they did this in the Jackson “case”, it wouldn’t be the first time. Sources say that there is a pattern of conduct by prosecutors in Santa Barbara that could call into question their motives and incentives for pursuing certain cases while not pursuing others. The misconduct/conspiracy suit against Sneddon and his alleged henchmen have been green-lighted to go forward by the U.S. District Court. Time will tell if Dunlap is successful in his pursuit of exoneration. But the mere fact that he has passed the first gigantic hurdle and have asked higher-ups to become involved, indicates that there could be much more to this misconduct/conspiracy claim than first realized. Stay tuned. -MJEOL

Leave a Reply