The newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Government Lawyers
Public sector discipline: Two Illinois prosecutors disciplined for Brady violations during May term of the Supreme Court
In re Murphy and Campbell, Commission Nos. 06 SH 74 and 75 (consolidated), S. Ct. No. M.R. 21566 (May 18, 2007). Bradley Murphy and John Campbell, two career Assistant United States Attorneys in central Illinois, were both assigned to the prosecution of Paul A. Childs, after Childs delivered crack cocaine to three individuals who were cooperating with the authorities. One of those cooperating individuals, Alan Logston, confided to a detective, three days before the trial began, that he had kept some of the crack cocaine that he had purchased from Childs. The detective immediately informed Campbell, who in turn informed Murphy, of Logston’s statement. On the day of his scheduled testimony, Logston told Campbell directly that he had taken one-half of the crack cocaine that he had purchased in the controlled transactions. Campbell relayed this statement to Murphy, but neither attorney disclosed Logston’s statements to the defense prior to or during the trial. Logston did, however, testify to this conduct under cross-examination and also testified that he had told police and prosecutors of his conduct. Defense counsel moved for dismissal, under Brady v . Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), but the district court denied the motion, citing lack of prejudice to the defendant while acknowledging, nonetheless, that the prosecutors had wrongly failed to disclose this information. The jury’s subsequent guilty verdict was affirmed on appeal.
The conduct of Murphy and Campbell was investigated by the Justice Department, and both attorneys were sanctioned by one-day suspensions from work. The Illinois Supreme Court, taking into consideration their lack of prior misconduct, their remorse, their cooperation, and their good reputations in the legal community, but also considering the fact their substantial experience should have caused them to avoid this conduct, accepted the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission Administrator’s petition for discipline on consent and censured both attorneys.
The full text of the Murphy/Campbell consent petition, as well as the Supreme Court’s final order, may be accessed through the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission’s Web site at <www.iardc.org>, by selecting “Rules and Decisions.”