The Catholic University of America

CUA Law Professor Mary Graw Leary was quoted in a May 27 article published by the National Catholic Register entitled "Did the Houston DA’s Office Abuse Its Power to Get Daleiden Indictment?" See below.

Did the Houston DA’s Office Abuse Its Power to Get Daleiden Indictment?

National Catholic Register
May 27, 2016
By Peter Jesserer Smith 

. . .

Mary Leary, a professor at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, told the Register that it is “highly unusual” — but not necessarily unethical — for a prosecutor to share information with the target of a grand-jury investigation.

“That certainly is outside the norm of practice in many counties,” said Leary, a former assistant district attorney with experience in seeking indictments from grand juries. Since the prosecutor’s aim is justice, not to just obtain an indictment, she said there could be cases in which information is shared between the prosecutor and the attorney of the target of the grand-jury investigation. Often, this arises when that attorney is seeking to avoid what he perceives as a wrongful indictment and wants the opportunity to show the prosecutor where the evidence demonstrates the target’s lack of guilt.

However, Leary, noting that the specific facts of the conversations between the prosecutor and target’s attorney really matter in this situation, added that a judge may have to look into potential possible violations over the manner in which the Houston assistant district attorney obtained the raw video footage that she provided to Schaffer.

Leary said that a judge might be concerned that the ADA abused the grand jury’s subpoena power, which is meant to obtain evidence for the grand jury, not to obtain evidence to share with a third party, such as the target of the investigation. Since Mitchell already had the footage she needed for the grand jury’s investigation — a fact confirmed in Schaffer’s affidavit — that raises the further red flag that she might have gone outside the scope of the subpoena and used it to gather documented information under “false pretenses.”

“That’s a potential problem,” Leary said, explaining that she believes this raises “legitimate questions” for a judge to sort through.

. . .

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Mary G. Leary   

Professor Mary G. Leary's
Areas of Expertise

Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Technology

Exploitation of children and women

Human Trafficking

For additional information about our professors' areas of speciality, see the Catholic University Experts page.