criminal defense lawyer in Louisville, Kentucky, was recently subjected to an outrageous, undeserved,
tirade which earned her assailant, an out of control prosecutor, a suspension
and a warning that further conduct of this nature will probably result
in his termination. Not content to only subject the criminal defense lawyer
to his wrath, the prosecutor, Bob Fleck, also reportedly threatened the
local court clerk's office with contempt charges because in his opinion,
they were not producing records in a timely manner.
Apparently losing his temper and going nuts has been an ongoing problem
for Fleck. Reports have indicated that he has a checkered history which
includes past allegations of "pushing full boxes onto the floor"
when angry; refusing to work with certain criminal defense lawyers; and,
"purposefully providing erroneous information to the defense bar."
His latest incident involves allegations of him pushing a female criminal
defense lawyer out the door of a conference room after cursing at her
and accusing her of impropriety. His superiors at the Jefferson County
Attorney's Office have apparently had enough of his antics. Fleck
was informed that the two latest incidents "are consistent with your
past disruptive and unprofessional conduct," ordered to undergo an
assessment for "anger/stress related conditions" and suspended
for 30 days without pay.
This case presents an interesting issue. Prosecutors have a unique duty
amongst attorneys - they have an absolute duty to do justice. In other
words, they have a duty to ensure that the correct outcome occurs every
time. Sometimes that means a conviction, sometimes it means a dismissal
of the charges, or sometimes it means a plea that takes into account mitigating
factors. In my experience the overwhelming majority of prosecutors do
try to achieve a just result in their cases. Frequently, I disagree with
their assessment of what constitutes a just result in a given case, but
rarely do I question their sincerity as it relates to their belief that
they are handling the case in a correct manner. What I find most concerning
is a prosecutor who has a history of vindictive and dishonest conduct.
Everyone loses their temper from time to time. It's regrettable, but
understandable. I applaud the Jefferson County Attorney's Office for
taking action. However, the allegation that I find most disturbing is
the one where Fleck is accused of willfully
deceiving defense counsel. If that is true, that more than all the other conduct combined indicates
that he's unsuited to perform the high function that prosecuting cases
demands. Hopefully the allegation of being deceptive with defense counsel
is untrue. If it isn't, Fleck has no business prosecuting any case,
regardless of how well he controls his temper in the future.