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On Douglas County prosecutor removed from cases for errors in trials

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Hskrchad13 1 year, 7 months ago

This is a shame. Amy McGowan is doing the work that most people cannot do and doing it in an incredible fashion. All of us should go to bed at night thanking whatever god we believe in that there are people like Amy willing to work incredibly hard to make sure the monsters in our community cannot harm and abuse our children. The Supreme Court has been all over the place on comments prosecutors can and cannot make. Amy is a victim of inconsistency in the Court's decisions on prosecutorial misconduct. I have had the honor of watching Ms. Mcgowan in trial and she fights for those victims that cannot speak for themselves. I hope she is back in the courtroom soon. I for one will feel safer when she is back in the Courtroom protecting our children.

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notajayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

What does "justice" have to do with this story?

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cowboy 1 year, 7 months ago

she's a professional in a field of precise words , should have known better.

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somebodynew 1 year, 7 months ago

cowboy - read the story a little closer. On one of these the Court changed the rules after the fact.

I won't argue that she can push the line, but if you have ever seen some defense attorneys it is not anything they won't do. At least she CARES, which is what a lot of posters on here claim that office lacks.

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ebyrdstarr 1 year, 7 months ago

Actually, the Smith decision cites both Kansas Supreme Court and US Supreme Court cases as far back as 1985 that held these kinds of comments are improper. Read the Smith decision, available on the Court's website, to understand why.

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Tammy Copp-Barta 1 year, 7 months ago

So .. she's not allowed to ask for or comment on the truth? Interesting .. goes along with the rest of the screwed up court systems! Guess she should say "Heck with the truth" .. just check the box jail or no jail .. truth be damned!

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notajayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

"Justice" is more closely aligned with "truth" than with evidence or court decisions.

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Sergeant 1 year, 7 months ago

Hardest working ADA in the district. Passionate and good at what she does. She finds the truth and then is told not to talk about it. What a shame. I hope she is back in the courtroom soon.

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irvan moore 1 year, 7 months ago

she is the best trial attorney we have, big mistake benching her

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rainydaze 1 year, 7 months ago

A trail of incompetence. We could have predicted this one. Karma.

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Budgets_Smudgets 1 year, 7 months ago

Very unfortunate, and this may be an over-reaction by the DA in covering his butt. I would be curious to hear from attorneys who practice criminal law in this regard.

We obviously want our prosecutors to be zealous in their efforts. It really does require a special temperament and skill set, IMHO to work with these types of cases. Most of these defendants are people you want to hate, and in the course of making oral arguments, I could see how any person could slip up and say things just beyond the fuzzy-line.

I do not know Ms. Mcgowan, but I am sure the notoriety from her name appearing in the opinion is the more important professional and personal embarrassment to her.

The irony to me is that the elected DA, does not posses the requisite skill set for these types of prosecutions, and who is probably paid 3x her salary, imposes these sanctions. \

Am I wrong?

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notajayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Sounds like someone's got quite the chip on his shoulder. What did she get you convicted of?

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notajayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

"Here's the facts I don't like anyone in the DA's office."

That was really all you had to say.

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kawrivercrow 1 year, 7 months ago

LOL. You just revealed the depth of your character. Of course, it was already obvious to most of us.

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Bob Forer 1 year, 7 months ago

You are absolutely right, Charles Branson has very little jury trial experience, Amy McGowan, on the other hand, is perhaps one of the most experienced prosecutors. in Kansas. And that is precisely why her comments are exceptionally bothersome.

Budget's wrote: "... making oral arguments, I could see how any person could slip up and say things just beyond the fuzzy-line"

Yes, prosecutors, like all of us, make mistakes. However, the mistake she made was apparently not a mere "slip of the tongue" committed in the heat of battle, but instead, a deliberate and carefully chosen argument that has apparently been part of her repertoire for quite some time. The first time her "truth" argument was called to an appellate court's attention, she was politely scolded without her identity being mentioned in the published opinion. The conviction was not reversed. It happened a second time--same result.

The third time around, apparently, the appellate court figured enough was enough, and not only consciously choose to mention her name in the opinion, but reversed the decision.

Simply put, a highly experienced prosecutor should know better. There is no excuse for Ms. McGowan's failure to take heed of prior admonishments from the appellate court.

If Ms. McGowan is willing to ignore the directives of our appellate courts regarding closing arguments, what other rules of prosecutorial conduct is she willing to break in order to secure a "win?"

I don't care how experienced and capable she is. A dirty prosecutor, like a dirty cop, has no place in our criminal justice system.

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blindrabbit 1 year, 7 months ago

Several years ago I attended the Lawrence Police Citizens Academy, Ms. McGowan was also an attendee. Though most of the class was made up of ordinary citizens, several were employees of either the Lawrence Police, the Sheriff Department or the Office of the District Attorney. Only negative impression in the the class was the seemingly inattentive behavior of Ms. McGowan and another female employee of the D.A.'s Office. They had no interaction with rest of the class and played videogames on their handhelds during breaks. At the time, I felt these two were very immature, juvenile and unprofessional and could hardly understand how they could be a part of the D.A.'s Prosecurtorial Staff.. I know about first impressions, but was really put-off by the actions of these two.

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notajayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Perhaps there was nothing being presented at the Lawrence Police Citizens Academy that a prosecutor with 30 years expereicne didn't already know.

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Bob Forer 1 year, 7 months ago

Obviously, there are some folks who disagree with the appellate Court rulings which prohibit prosecutors from using "truth" arguments in their closing statements to the jury. That is not the point. Once Ms. McGowan was made cognizant of that rule, like it or not, she should have removed such arguments from her repertoire Her continued refusal to heed the ruling of the State's highest court is a clear indictment of her professional ethics and her ability to seek justice. As a prosecutor, she is considered an "Officer of the Court" and has an obligation to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and justice. She is lucky she was not fired.

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BlackVelvet 1 year, 7 months ago

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I thought she had made those comments during several trials long before the supreme court ever heard the appeals, and subsequently decided she was in error. She didn't continue to do the same thing after the court made their ruling.

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ebyrdstarr 1 year, 7 months ago

The Smith case cited Kansas and US Supreme Court cases from 1985, 2000, and 2005, all of which said similar comments were improper. The 2005 case was a big one that every criminal attorney in Kansas should have been aware of. In Smith, the Kansas Supreme Court said that 2005 ruling applied to McGowan's comments.

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kimk 1 year, 7 months ago

Branson will face a tough reelection battle if he doesn't finish what he started and give McGowan the axe completely. When the Supreme Court starts calling you out by name that is a sure sign that it is time to go! Good riddance.

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gccs14r 1 year, 7 months ago

Someone has to run against him, first. I know he was unopposed last time and I'm pretty sure he was unopposed the time before that.

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Bob Forer 1 year, 7 months ago

His bid for re-election was unopposed. However, in his initial campaign for office, I think he ran against, and beat, the incumbent, Christine Kenney.

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JamesRory 1 year, 7 months ago

Karma. Amy McGowan is unprofessional, rude, and acts ugly in trial. She is in it for the dramatics and not for the law, which is obvious by the comments she made in court. She is out to make a name for herself and picked sex crimes as her focus because she knows that is usually a guaranteed win and the public loves to see those defendants put away. We need a prosecutor who can put together a case, not act like they are on SVU. Good riddance.

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Bob Forer 1 year, 7 months ago

I do not practice law nor am I acquainted with Amy McGowan, so I don't know the answer to my question, but perhaps others do.

Is she the proverbial, vindictive, "convict and win at all costs" prosecutor, or does she have a sense of fairness and justice? Her actions in the reported cases indicates that she plays dirty, but then again, I am only giving my educated guess.

Anybody?

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pace 1 year, 7 months ago

You don't know the facts, or the persons, and you call your remarks an educated guess,. Thank you for sharing your feelings, good luck at learning what an educated guess means, as compared to thoughtless speculation.

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Bob Forer 1 year, 7 months ago

Would it help if I told you that I went to Law School with Amy, practiced many years as both a defense attorney and a prosecutor, know the rules of professional responsibility and what it means to be an "Officer of the Court," and therefore can certainly recognize dubious prosecutorial tactics a mile away.

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kimk 1 year, 7 months ago

She is a convict and win at all costs type. Period. End of story. It's about time her dirty tactics caught up with her!

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Charles L Bloss Jr 1 year, 7 months ago

This is really a shame. A prosecutor that believes in working hard to put criminals in prison where they belong, is faulted for telling the truth. Our "judicial" system is slanted toward the criminal, where are the victim's rights, if any? I don't know this lady, but I do read the articles and comments carefully. It sounds to me like she really cares about getting justice for the victims. The court won't let her say certain things as they might interfere with the criminal's rights, I say again, she was concerned with the victim's rights. I do not condone anyone breaking the court's rules, but some of these rules were changed in mid stream I understand. I do not know the district attorney either. I had one interaction with one of his assistants, as I went to court on a speeding ticket a number of years ago. If the assistant DA in my case was indicative of the rest of her counterparts, then the DA staffs his office with very good and caring people.

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ebyrdstarr 1 year, 7 months ago

The criminal justice system protects the rights of the accused, because anyone can make an accusation. We use all those rules and protect those rights of the accused to make sure we don't put innocent people in prison. I don't get why this is so objectionable to some people. We can't just take the accusers at their word.

Our prosecutors aren't faulted for being honest. They're faulted for invading the province of the jury. It's the jury's job to hear all the facts and evidence and do their best to find the truth in all of it. Neither side (it would be wrong for the defense to make these comments, too) gets to claim ownership of the truth because that's the jury's job. It's been the case for decades that attorneys can't call witnesses liars, can't offer their personal opinions, can't ask witnesses to call each other liars, etc.

You obviously didn't read the comments too carefully or you would have noted that I have already pointed out twice that the objectionable comments have been disapproved by courts longer than Branson would have you believe. The Smith decision heavily relies on a 2005 case and cites cases earlier than that. Prosecutors have known for decades that telling jurors that "the truth" demands a guilty verdict or is on the victim's side or whatever is a no-no. You can easily find that decision on the Kansas Court's website and read it for yourself.

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kimk 1 year, 7 months ago

Rumor has it that there are many, many more cases in the pipeline concerning Ms. McGowan's corrupt practices. If Branson doesn't get rid of her now, she will only continue to tarnish his reputation.

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happyrearviewmirror 1 year, 7 months ago

In my experience, there seem to be a number of competence and integrity issues with the Douglas DA's Office as whole--- not only with Amy McGowan. Conflict-of-interest problems exist for one reason because KU is allowed to press charges without following internal grievance and disciplinary procedures first and because they seem to have local law enforcement in their pockets. The KU HR office and the KU staff lawyers are incredibly bad- faith and retaliatory bullies. Even though the police never questioned me I was falsely charged and the DA pressed charges for reasons stemming from being a repetitive street harassment victim in Douglas County and verbally defending myself. Much of the so-called "evidence" was a tissue of hateful lies constructed by Ola Faucher and her investigators. It's southern -justice to charge a harassment victim with the identical crime for legitimate complaints.

The charges were eventually dropped, but as a condition for this, the DA's office( James McCrabria and Katie B. were involved) in cahoots with a jerk of an appointed defense lawyer banned me from the State of Kansas. Of course, this is an illegal and underhanded method to conduct the law. The head DAs approved this BS. Even the so-called "professionals" are country bumpkins in Lawrence, KS--frighting incompetence and dishonesty. Thanks for the PTSD.

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happyrearviewmirror 1 year, 7 months ago

In my experience, there seem to be a number of competence and integrity issues with the Douglas DA's Office as whole--- not only with Amy McGowan. Conflict-of-interest problems exist for one reason because KU is allowed to press charges without following internal grievance and disciplinary procedures first and because they seem to have local law enforcement in their pockets. The KU HR office and the KU staff lawyers are incredibly bad- faith and retaliatory bullies. Even though the police never questioned me I was falsely charged and the DA pressed charges for reasons stemming from being a repetitive street harassment victim in Douglas County and verbally defending myself. Much of the so-called "evidence" was a tissue of hateful lies constructed by Ola Faucher and her investigators. It's southern -justice to charge a harassment victim with the identical crime for legitimate complaints.

The charges were eventually dropped, but as a condition for this, the DA's office( James McCrabria and Katie B. were involved) in cahoots with a jerk of an appointed defense lawyer banned me from the State of Kansas. Of course, this is an illegal and underhanded method to conduct the law. The head DAs approved this BS. Even the so-called "professionals" are country bumpkins in Lawrence, KS--frightening incompetence and dishonesty. Thanks for the PTSD.

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