Sanctions came late and light for two federal prosecutors who withheld key evidence resulting in a defendant’s wrongful imprisonment, the Intercept reports. A decade after withholding evidence, the prosecutors, Mary Chris Dobbie and Reagan Taylor, were given a year of probation plus a stern warning not to commit any further misconduct, or they would be suspended from practicing law for six months. But both still work for the Justice Department. And one of their former supervisors, Jeffrey Ragsdale, currently leads the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, OPR, which oversees investigations into alleged prosecutorial misconduct.
OPR has faced intense criticism over its abysmal transparency. Bruce Green, a Fordham Law School professor who studies prosecutorial ethics, called the office “the roach motel of the Justice Department,” while a former U.S. attorney for D.C. said it was “known as the Bermuda Triangle of complaints against prosecutors.” This decadelong disciplinary saga brought Green back to his central critique: We have very little insight into how the Justice Department itself is policing federal prosecutors. The department “could hold its prosecutors publicly accountable if it wanted to” through OPR, Green said, “but it doesn’t.”