What Makes a Good Prosecutor go Bad?

Justice

Prosecuting attorneys are hired to represent the state in the effort to convict those who commit criminal acts, however, sometimes the lines of ethics and responsibility are crossed.

Recently, a high ranking prosecutor in the Brooklyn, NY district attorney’s office, betrayed her oath with charges that she forged several judges’ signatures on 20 wiretap orders. Tara Lenich allegedly committed the crime to listen in on conversations of a love interest.

It’s stated that Lenich’s record in office was clean and she was known for her “superior work.” Lenich once led the Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau. (NYDailyNews) Although afforded the presumption of innocence, she is now the subject of detailed scrutiny during an investigation conducted by the very office in which she worked.

Tara Lenich

(*photo New York Daily News)

On the surface, Lenich’s wrongdoing appears to be an act of personal selfishness, but the entirety of her career and cases of defendants she prosecuted will presumably be examined for any further misconduct.

What happens when misconduct by prosecutors is uncovered? In this case, Tara Lenich has been arrested and charged; she will have her day in court. But, oftentimes, there is no accountability for even worse cases of unethical behavior by prosecutors who wield tremendous power in the judicial system.

A prosecutor’s distinctive role within the criminal justice system requires them to vigorously represent the state in seeking justice and upholding the rights of victims. However, when the moral and ethical line is blurred, it raises issues at the intersection of the state’s interests and the rights of the victims. This is the point where the prosecutor has to decide whether a case is winnable, and at what cost.

The cost of winning is where some prosecutor’s decision making process takes a turn and  commonly the win is more important than justice they are sworn to uphold. Too many times a person is convicted of a crime they didn’t commit because an overzealous prosecutor is more interested in furthering their career than the rights of the victim to fair and balanced justice.

Very little exists in the way of accountability for abuse of power and blatant misconduct of prosecutors. In recent years states are beginning to work for changes in the system by creating commissions to investigate and penalize prosecutors for violating the rules of the court.

New York has introduced legislation to create a commission to investigate and discipline acts of prosecutorial misconduct in an effort to enhance the public’s confidence in the integrity of criminal prosecutions and safeguarding the rights of all. (The Daily Beast)

In Tara Lenich’s case, she willingly took a pen in her hand and forged warrants in the name of assorted judges. Her reasons are her own, but her actions show that over a period of almost two years she abused the power bestowed to her with trust. And what about her victims? Where were their rights?


NJ Investigator of the Year Award, Management ResourcesManagement Resources of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com

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Posted in Criminal Defense Investigations

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Members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Regional Directors, Investigating Innocence
investigating innocence, management resources, bill clutter, bob rahn, kim anklin
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