Office of the United States Attorney, Ann Birmingham Scheel
District of Arizona
February 17, 2012
STATEMENT REGARDING THE NINTH CIRCUIT’S AMENDED OPINION IN U.S. V. LOPEZ-AVILA
This week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an amended opinion in the case of United States v. Aurora Lopez-Avila, No. 11-10013. Although the Ninth Circuit upheld the district court’s finding that the Double Jeopardy Clause does not bar Lopez-Avila’s retrial, it also addressed the actions of the prosecutor who conducted the trial - and, by extension, the actions of the United States Attorney’s Office.
The United States Attorney takes any accusation of prosecutorial misconduct seriously. Prosecutors are held to high professional standards and understand that their first mission is to seek truth and justice. In fact, to ensure fairness in the administration of justice, the Department of Justice requires all prosecutors to complete annual Professional Responsibility training.
We agree with the Ninth Circuit that a determination of misconduct is best left to the trial judge who heard the evidence and to the Office of Professional Responsibility.
Each day, our prosecutors work hard to protect our citizens from crime, while at the same time treating fairly those who have been accused of criminal activity. We will continue to make every effort to ensure that our prosecutors abide by the high standards of professional conduct to which they are held.
RELEASE NUMBER: 2012-039(Lopez-Avila)
# # #
For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/az/