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Monday, March 12, 2012

Federal Judge Won't Sanction Prosecutors in Police Corruption Probe

Tulsa federal judge won't sanction prosecutors in police corruption probe
The Tulsa World by David Harper - March 10, 2012

A federal judge declined Friday to sanction prosecutors who disclosed the name of a Tulsa police officer they considered an unindicted co-conspirator in a police corruption probe. U.S. District Judge Bruce Black wrote, however, that the public filing of a March 2011 pleading in which the detective was mentioned was a "clear error of judgment." Officer Shawn Hickey had requested that the court investigate the actions of government attorneys, claiming that they violated his due-process rights and grand jury rules by publicly identifying him as an "unindicted co-conspirator." His Nov. 11 filing states, "Mr. Hickey has always maintained that he has not been involved in any wrongdoing." Black wrote in an opinion filed Friday that Hickey's "reputation was clearly harmed by the government's failure to file its brief under seal" and added that "there was no reason at all" to identify Hickey publicly as a co-conspirator who had not been charged. The judge added that the failure to submit the brief under seal "was a clear error of judgment" by the prosecution. Yet Black wrote that the disclosure "is not grounds for the extreme sanction of contempt." The judge noted that, to some extent, harm to Hickey's reputation was unavoidable because of testimony that occurred in August during the trial of former Tulsa Police Officer Jeff Henderson. Former U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Agent Brandon McFadden - who is serving a 21-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to a drug conspiracy charge - testified that Hickey was there in September 2007 when he, Henderson and another unindicted alleged co-conspirator went into a house and hid a shotgun so it could be discovered later during a search, Black wrote. McFadden's testimony was contradicted by other witnesses, and Henderson was not convicted of the corresponding count, although Henderson was convicted of six counts of perjury and two counts of civil rights violations and was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison. Saying he sympathizes with Hickey's plight, Black ordered the sealing of three documents in which Hickey's name appears and said he hopes the officer "will not continue to suffer overly burdensome fallout from the events that have occurred." Attorney Joe Norwood, representing Hickey, said he didn't really expect Black to sanction the prosecution, which was led by U.S. Attorney Jane Duke of the Eastern District of Arkansas. Norwood said it's "gratifying" that the court ordered the sealing of three pleadings in which Hickey's name was mentioned, but he said Hickey takes the most satisfaction in the harsh words Black had for the prosecution. He said Black's opinion makes it clear that Hickey's name "never should have been put out there." Norwood said "nothing could ever undo" the damage that has been done to Hickey by the disclosure. Original Print Headline: Judge: Prosecutors in corruption probe won't be sanctioned David Harper 918-581-8359 -

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Judge Black knows Duke has covered up some evidense and he knows she has lied to the jury. When do the Feds stop covering for each other and do the right thing?
Duke should be ashamed of herself.