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A Prosecutor "Going Rouge" in Kansas City

Posted by Alex K. Kriksciun | Jun 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

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Somebody sent me an article recently from a blog called The Root, which was founded in part by famed Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates.

The headline immediately caught my eye – “Evilest White Woman On Earth.”  The “evilest woman” referred to is a federal prosecutor named Terra Morehead out of Kansas City.  Apparently, The Root did an investigation on Ms. Morehead, and the allegations are pretty damn damning.

The article reveals the following improprieties allegedly committed by AUSA Morehead:

  1. While a state prosecutor, Ms. Morehead dated a judge handling many of her cases for over a year without informing anybody.

  2. She allegedly threatened a lady who was going to testify as a defense witness in a murder trial with arrest and taking her children away if she did not testify against the defendant.  The same defendant was convicted of murder and only released in December of last year after spending 23 days in prison for a crime he did not commit.

  3. She allegedly “manufactured phantom informants to bolster perjured eyewitness testimony” in the same case.

  4. She asked for a recess and threatened a defense witness who was going to testify on behalf of the defendant (his brother) because he had a pending drug charge.  After the recess, the witness claimed that “he was not feeling well” and refused to testify.

  5. In the same case, Morehead was allegedly in possession of 200+ pictures showing two other white people holding the bag that narcotics and firearms were recovered from.  The defendant, a Hispanic man, was the only person charged with the offense.

  6. Morehead allegedly did not disclose said pictures and other materials until the day of trial.  Unsurprisingly, federal judge Julie Robinson opined, “Morehead did not inform the court that this evidence [the SIM card and photos] was potentially exculpatory evidence . . . “ and that “Morehead's conduct in violating the Sixth Amendment cannot be adequately remedied by a new trial.”

  7.  She refused to show a Hispanic defendant or his attorney a videotape of a confidential informant allegedly purchasing drugs and guns from the defendant until ordered to do so by a judge.

  8. She allegedly requested that a federal prisoner be placed in solitary confinement to deny him access to his attorneys

  9. She asked a defense lawyer “How does it feel letting a guilty guy go?” after he beat her at trial in a drug case.

This all sounds pretty bad, right?  Yet, even though there are plenty of other stories about Morehead's misdeeds, an example of which can be found here, she is still employed as an Assistant United States Attorney, as far as I can tell.

The reason that prosecutors can be compelled to misbehave are twofold: (1) in many offices, there is a “convict-at-all-costs” attitude that exists, and (2) there really is no process to hold them accountable.

I must point out here that the vast, vast majority of prosecutors are good people performing a job that they see as being morally just.  Not once in my career have I suspected that a prosecutor deliberately “buried” or withheld evidence (with law enforcement, that's a different story).  Nor have I suspected that a prosecutor intimidated one of my witnesses.

However, the temptation to engage in these kinds of abuses will continue until prosecutors are held accountable for misconduct.  The Louisiana Supreme Court has issued discipline in the past to a prosecutor found to have violated the Rule of Professional Conduct unique to prosecutors.  The problem is they've only done it once.  Exactly one time in all the years the rule has been effective. I refuse to believe that this situation has happened only once throughout the state in the dozen plus years the rule has been effective.  Like I said, this will never be a problem for the vast majority of prosecutors.  The ones that are compelled to cheat do so because the likelihood of punishment is minuscule.

If you believe that you are the subject of prosecutorial misconduct, or just need to talk to a criminal lawyer about your case, please make sure to contact the Law Office of Alex Kriksciun today!    

About the Author

Alex K. Kriksciun

Attorney at Law/Notary Public Alex K. Kriksciun has devoted most of his legal career to defending the rights of people accused of crimes and the rights of people harmed by the negligence of others.  Whether the case involves a municipal citation, a life imprisonment without parole case, a wrongf...

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