California Prosecutor May Lose Law License for Prosecutorial Misconduct

July 7, 2009

A California a state bar judge recommended that Santa Clara County prosecutor Ben Field be suspended from the practice of law for four years.

Field, 44, once a star prosecutor had harbored ambitions of becoming district attorney or a county judge, said Tuesday he has no intention of dropping his fight against the bar discipline.

The court found that he abused his prosecutorial powers and committed misconduct in four criminal cases that resulted in the violation of the constitutional rights of defendants.

In a scathing 67-page ruling, Judge Pat McElroy described Field as an “overzealous” prosecutor who violated a host of ethical rules in the four criminal cases, ranging from disobeying judges’ orders to hiding crucial evidence from defense lawyers that could have helped their clients.

Allen Ruby, Field’s lawyer, said he plans to file Field’s brief appealing the bar court ruling on Aug. 10. Bar prosecutors say they plan to file their response to Field’s brief, in the bar court’s appellate division, in September.

Field also faces a civil suit, which stems from his actions in a case central to the disciplinary matter. Donna Auguste, the aunt of a suspect whom Field had prosecuted, contends that Field improperly authorized a raid of her house looking for evidence against her nephew during post-verdict proceedings.

California prosecutors like Field, with 15 years’ experience, are paid more than $180,000 a year

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