2022 Investigative Summary 8
INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGED VIOLATION OF THE SPEEDY TRIAL ACT
An Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) self-reported to OPR a judicial finding dismissing the charges against criminal defendants with prejudice based on its determination that the government violated the Speedy Trial Act (STA) and intentionally made charging decisions designed to give the United States a strategic advantage.
Based on its investigation, OPR concluded that although the AUSA violated a clear and unambiguous duty imposed by the STA and Department of Justice policy, his conduct did not rise to the level of intentional or reckless professional misconduct because OPR did not find evidence that the AUSA intentionally manipulated the STA clock to gain a prosecutorial advantage, the AUSA’s error was the result of his misunderstanding of the ramifications of adding new charges, and the actions of others contributed to causing the violation. Nevertheless, the AUSA, as a highly experienced prosecutor and the lead in the prosecution, had a duty to carefully track and ensure compliance with the STA. The AUSA’s failure to do so demonstrated an exercise of poor judgment that substantially contributed to causing the violation, which resulted in dismissal of the case with prejudice.