January 13, 2009

WA: "I don’t see a lot of accountability for case mismanagement"

They pull stuff like this all the time, but how often do they get spanked for it? From the Spokesman-Review:

‘Careless handling’ draws ire of judge - Prosecutor’s office fined for late change to charges

The Spokane County prosecutor’s office was sanctioned Monday and fined $8,000 by a judge angry over mishandling of a critical detail surrounding a home-invasion case that could send several men to prison for the rest of their lives.

At issue was a last-minute change Monday by Deputy Prosecutor Eugene Cruz, who altered the date – from April 15 to April 17 – that the robbery and attempted first-degree murder occurred on, effectively gutting defense preparations for the trial...

(C)hanging something as critical as the date of the crime, on the morning the trial was set to begin, was too much, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen said. Further, prosecutors had known for months that they wanted to change the date of the crime but waited until the day of the trial to do it...