Why Not Blame the Boss?

The Daily Business Review has a story today about a real screw-up by the US Attorney's office here in the Southern District of Florida. The article doesn't seem to be online, but you can read a quick summary at David Markus's blog:

Judge Moore had refused to grant a continuance in the past. This time, he granted the government's request for a continuance, but he was not happy about it. Apparently the government threatened to dismiss the entire indictment if the continuance wasn't granted. Both sides have reason to be upset — the defense prepared for trial, made reservations for hotels in the Keys, flew in witnesses and so on because this was a firm trial date. The prosecution is rightfully upset because the lead prosecutor has been ill and in the hospital, which is, of course, good cause to continue the case.

Here's what I want to know: neither the DBR nor Mr. Markus connect this fiasco to the current, rather inexperienced, management at the Southern District. Yet, one of the many things that went wrong, and which the full article makes clear angered the judge, is that the number two lawyer on the case left the US Attorney's office some time ago, but apparently no one told the other side or the court. And when the lead lawyer got ill, there was no backstop in place, the government was at the last minute unprepared for trial, and it had no choice but to say it would dismiss if a continuance wasn't granted.

Why isn't this sort of management failure exactly the sort of thing that should be the responsibility of Mr. R. Alexander Acosta, who despite relative youth and rather thin credentials was parachuted into the job over the heads of the deputy US attorney, who had about 20 years of experience, and was recommended by the previous incumbent?

I'm not and never have been a prosecutor, so the question is more than rhetorical. Anyone know?

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One Response to Why Not Blame the Boss?

  1. Michael:

    Although I was skeptical when Mr. Acosta was first appointed, it turns out that he is performing well as U.S. Attorney. He is very smart, personable, and has made an effort to reach out to the defense bar. I’m not sure he wants an endorsement from someone like me, but I have been impressed with how he has performed to date.

    –David Oscar Markus
    President, Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers — Miami Chapter

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