Man, I would hate to be a prosecutor walking into District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan's courtroom these days.
Judge Sullivan has already dismissed a high profile corruption case against former Senator Ted Stevens in April of this because of the "mishandling and misconduct" of the prosecutors in the case. Sullivan also ordered a criminal contempt investigation into the prosecutor and their actions in a withering opinion that would have brought even the most battle-hardened prosecutor close to tears. Now it's the District of Colombia Attorney General's Office that has raised Sullivan's ire. Sullivan lashed out against the DC AG in a civil case surrounding the arrests in 2002 of protesters during a
demonstration against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank at a hearing on Wednesday, calling the AG's behavior the "civil counterpart" of the Stevens fiasco.
The plaintiffs accused the DC AG's office of destroying or losing important documents in the case. DC Attorney General Peter Nickles blamed the District's document management system, but plaintiffs allege that the discovery abuses went beyond what could be attributed to the District's lack of litigation resources.
Sullivan promised "painful" sanctions, and ordered Nickles to prepare an affidavit explaining what Sullivan calls the office's "pattern of shortcomings" and "discovery abuses" in the litigation. The judge also suggested that the District settle the lawsuit, called the actions of the District "abysmal" and swore that the District would "pay the price" for its behavior in the suit.