The president of the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys has published a commentary calling "premature" the calls for the canning of prosecutors involved in the trial of U.S. Ted Stevens (R.-Alaska) in the wake of a court-appointed special counsel's report finding "systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence."
Robert Gay Guthrie counsels patience in waiting for the Justice Department's internal watchdog, the Office of Professional Responsibility ("OPR"), to complete its own inquiry into the handling of discovery at the 2008 trial.
Guthrie offers two reasons for holding off. One is that "OPR's investigations customarily reveal the unblemished truth while still affording due process to those under investigation."
The second reason given by Guthrie is that the special counsel--Henry Schuelke and his colleague William Shields--did not sufficiently examine the role of Justice Department higher-ups in the matter, while he suggests that OPR will.
Guthrie also weighs in against calls for structural change to the federal criminal discovery process, arguing that the enactment of such proposals for much broader evidence-sharing would provide "significant tactical advantage for criminal defendants."