What are the odds that a federal prosecutor will be punished for prosecutorial misconduct? The odds are about 50-to-1 that a prosecutor who is reported for prosecutorial misconduct will not receive even a slap on the wrist. Given that most prosecutorial misconduct goes unreported, the odds of getting away with misconduct are even better. The numbers don't lie.
When a federal prosecutor has allegedly committed prosecutorial misconduct, his conduct is reviewed by his colleagues. Within DOJ is the Office of Professional Responsibility. OPR's 2006 Annual Report (the most recent one available) is unfortunate reading. Anyone who has suspected that DOJ does not take prosecutorial misconduct seriously will unfortunately have those suspicions confirmed.
In fiscal year 2006, OPR received 869 complaints and other letters and memoranda requesting assistance. OPR determined that 230 of the matters, or approximately 26%, warranted further review by OPR attorneys. OPR opened full investigations in eighty-four of those matters; the remaining 146, which are termed “inquiries,” were resolved with no findings of professional misconduct, based on further review, additional information from the complainants, responses from the subjects, or other information. When information developed in an inquiry indicated that further investigation was warranted, the matter was converted to a full investigation.