Friday, November 18, 2016

Prosecutor Laura Marshard: Massachusetts: White elephant case? Prosecutor Laura Marchand; Reprimanded by a judge for pursuing a ‘win-at-all-costs’ strategy that was not consonant with the pursuit of justice, she is now under scrutiny by the Massachusetts Office of the Bar Counsel (OBC) for alleged misconduct in three criminal trials on Martha’s Vineyard - for either failing to share critical information with defense lawyers or attempting to interfere with defense witnesses. (Ms. Marshard disputes the charges)..." Judge Chin also concluded: This was not a momentary misstep, but a persistent course of conduct designed to prejudice the Defendant.” (Judge Richard J. Chin);

Image result for "white elephant"

In the years since I started publishing this Blog I have become increasingly disturbed by the 'white elephant' in the room: Sheer, unadulterated, willful   misconduct in the criminal justice system - much  of it involving forensic evidence - committed by lab technicians,  pathologists, police officers, prosecutors and others.  Think Annie Dookhan; Think Sonia Farak; Think David Kofoed; Think Charles Smith; Think Ken Anderson; Think Gene Morrison. Think Michael West;   I have therefore decided to run this image of a white elephant at the top of every applicable post henceforth, to draw our reader's attention to   what I see as a major problem in all too many criminal justice system's - my own included.  Harold Levy; Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
"Reformers have for years recommended that all forensic labs be independent from law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies' and this is a key reform promoted by The Justice Project (2008). But fixing these problems is only half the answer' because half of the wrongful convictions attributed to misleading forensic evidence involved deliberate forensic fraud' evidence tampering' and/or perjury.
From "The Elephant in the Crime Lab," by co-authored by Sheila Berry and Larry Ytuarte; Forensic Examiner; Spring, 2009;


STORY: "Longtime Cape and Island assistant DA under investigation for misconduct," by Barry Stringfellow, published by The Martha's Vineyard Times on November 15, 2016.

SUB-HEADING: "The Office of the Bar Counsel has filed a three count complaint with the Board of Bar Overseers against Laura Marshard over her conduct in three Vineyard court cases."

GIST:  "According to court documents obtained by The Times, assistant district attorney Laura Marshard has come under scrutiny by the Massachusetts Office of the Bar Counsel (OBC) for alleged misconduct in three criminal trials on Martha’s Vineyard. A 12-page, three-count complaint submitted by the OBC to the Board of Bar Overseers on Sept. 6 alleges that Ms. Marshard — prosecutor for the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office for 12 years — either failed to share critical information with defense lawyers or attempted to interfere with defense witnesses. Ms. Marshard has disputed the charges. Count one alleges that Ms. Marshard withheld evidence from defense attorneys that could have absolved two men of charges stemming from a bar brawl at the Ritz Cafe in Oak Bluffs in March 2013. The defendants, Patrece Petersen and Darryl Baptiste, were indicted by a Dukes County grand jury on assault charges related to a fight with brothers Jason and Frank Cray. Mr. Petersen was also charged with attempted murder. The defendants were acquitted of all charges in November 2014, following a dramatic trial that included charges of racial bias, contradictory witness testimony, and a finding by Judge Richard J. Chin of prosecutorial misconduct on the part of Ms. Marshard. Defense attorneys Robert Moriarty and John Amabile successfully argued that Ms. Marshard had failed to turn over evidence that would confirm the defendants’ version of events, in particular a conversation Ms. Marshard had with former Ritz owner Christine Arenburg about two months after the incident. When defense attorneys questioned Ms. Arenburg, she said she told Ms. Marshard that “the Cray brothers were lying through their teeth,” and that “there was no fight at the Ritz and no knife at the Ritz,” according to the deposition. The defense argued that Ms. Arenburg’s statements should have been turned over to them, according to the rules of the court. Defense attorneys also argued that Ms. Marshard’s repeated insistence that the judge advise defense witnesses of their rights amounted to a threat to prosecute the witnesses based on their testimony, and caused the witnesses to refuse to testify. Judge Chin reprimanded Ms. Marchand, and said, “Her actions were part of a ‘win-at-all-costs’ strategy, and were not consonant with the pursuit of justice…This was not a momentary misstep, but a persistent course of conduct designed to prejudice the Defendant.” The OBC complaint states that prosecuting attorneys are required to “make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigate the offense …” Count two against Ms. Marshard stems from another ongoing assault case, this one from July 2014, involving Mr. Petersen, in a fight with Edgartown resident David Sylvia. Mr. Petersen was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a police officer, mayhem, resisting arrest, and disturbing the peace. According to the OBC complaint, Ms. Marshard “directed an Edgartown police detective [to] locate Sylvia and bring Sylvia to the courthouse library.” Ms. Marshard then met with Mr. Sylvia without his attorney present. Ms. Marshard later agreed she had met with Mr. Sylvia, but only to reassure him he would not be in trouble for his testimony. In count three, the OBC alleges that Ms. Marshard “failed to correct” false testimony made by State Police Sergeant Jeff Stone to a grand jury in a 2013 drug-trafficking investigation, where three off-Island men with lengthy criminal records were arrested on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs with almost 300 Percocet painkillers worth approximately $15,000. District Attorney Michael O’Keefe is standing firmly behind Ms. Marshard." 

The entire story can be found at:

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:  Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.