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Rule of Law

Justice Dept. Lawyer Karla Dobinski’s Misconduct Sends Cops to Prison

September 18th, 2013 - 7:28 pm

What does it take for an employee to get fired in Eric Holder’s Justice Department Civil Rights Division?

Certainly perjury doesn’t do it. Neither does using a government credit card to book airfare for romantic liaisons with a Miami girlfriend — that just gets you a nice buyout. Want to use civil rights laws to protect only black victims of discrimination? Ho hum. The culture of lawlessness is so pervasive at the Civil Rights Division that a former Voting Section chief felt comfortable telephoning current DOJ employees and suggesting they turn over confidential memos … because they were worth cash (see page 145).

Now we learn that that an attorney in the infamous and lawless Civil Rights Division was engaging in clandestine blogging at a major newspaper in order to help convict New Orleans police officers in a matter to which she was assigned. Enter Karla Dobinski, DOJ Civil Rights Division lawyer by day and secret blogger by night. Dobinski was posting in the comments at newspaper sites and anonymously polluting the atmosphere about cases against New Orleans police officers on which she was working.

Karla Dobinski

Karla Dobinski

Dobinski’s misconduct was so egregious that United States District Court Judge Kurt Englehardt vacated the convictions of five New Orleans police officers convicted of using excessive force in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

From NOLA:

Karla Dobinski, trial attorney in the department’s Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., posted comments on NOLA.com under the name “Dipsos,” U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt said in his order, which cited “grotesque” prosecutorial misconduct as a reason to grant a new trial.

The judge called Dobinski’s posts a “wanton reckless course of action.”

Dobinski wasn’t any old attorney working on the prosecution of the New Orleans police officers: she was a supervisor, and the head of the “taint team.” The taint team is charged with ensuring that prosecutors do not use any information obtained by a police department internal affairs unit in a criminal prosecution. Because cooperation with an internal affairs unit is mandatory for cops, statements made in those interviews may not be used in any criminal prosecution of a police officer. The head of the taint team is charged with ensuring the police officers receive a fair trial by keeping all information from the internal affairs unit out of the hands of the criminal prosecutors and away from the trial.

Dobinski is also a highly paid deputy chief in the Criminal Section. In other words, she is a supervisor. Nevertheless, Dobinski used the Times-Picayune website to post anonymous comments about the trial and to discuss the evidence in the case. Per NOLA:

Dobinski under oath testified that she followed progress of the trial on The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com because “the prosecution team was busy and there was not a good flow of information back about the trial events.”  Englehardt was not satisfied with that response, saying she had other avenues to keep up with the trial. And she was urging others to keep posting comments on NOLA.com, especially when they had pro-prosecutor opinions, the judge said. ”In short, it is difficult to accept the story that an experienced trial attorney … would embark upon such a wanton reckless course of action, involving herself with two highly-opinionated trial observers, simply to obtain ‘a good flow of information back about the trial events.’”

He says less than 65 days before the jury got the case against Bowen and the others, Dobinski “personally fanned the flames of those burning to see him convicted.

Two other DOJ lawyers, both based in New Orleans, were fired for similar blogging at the Times-Picayune website in news stories covering the matter.

But Dobinski reported to work on Wednesday at her office on the fifth floor at 601 D Street N.W. in Washington, D.C .

Dobinski still earns $155,500 per year.

Has she faced scorn, ridicule or ostracism from her lawyer co-workers at the Justice Department?

Of course not. This is Eric Holder’s Justice Department.

Every other Justice Department lawyer who blogged about their New Orleans case has been fired, except Dobinski.

Why not?

Dobinski, unlike the other fired lawyers, is an activist.

She has long been involved in numerous lesbian and LGBT causes. In 2002, DOJ Pride — the internal association of gay Justice Department employees — held an awards ceremony. Dobinski won the James R. Douglas Award for her activism. For good measure, Dobinski also snagged the Gerald R. Roemer Community Service Award.

DOJ employees with her history of activism enjoy a sort of immunity that non-activists and non-leftists do not enjoy. It’s just another day in the fundamental transformation of America.

But Dobinski’s left-wing activism shouldn’t protect her from the disciplinary committee at the District of Columbia Bar.

I verified today that she has been admitted to practice in the District since Feb. 14, 1985. If the Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility didn’t report her to the bar — and it’s likely they didn’t – citizens can.

A government which permits federal employees to abuse power, lie, steal, and ultimately to send citizens to jail based on lawyer misconduct is a government which has betrayed its founding rooted in law. Whether it is Karla Dobinski or Eric Holder, a new breed of highly paid lawyer holds power. They seem immune to consequences for misconduct, and those in Congress with the power to respond under the Constitution seem flummoxed by this new breed of technocrat gangster.

The consequences for the rule of law, and for their victims — like the five New Orleans police officers — are frightening.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
As a career DOJ employee I have been quite familiar with Karla Dobinski's reputation, which was that she'd do virtually anything to get a conviction. But that attitude is rampant within the Civil Rights Division as a whole, which is peopled by True Believers in the leftist way, and which has been out of control since the early 90's at least.

Lawyers from CRD, including Dobinski, almost always lack good judgment. Dobinski's attitude was that only she had sufficiently high intellect, prosecutorial skills, and, well, morality of required uprightness to successfully prosecute civil rights violations. Her default position was that local law enforcement officers and prosecutors were at best incompetent, usually racist and often corrupt. She thought even the federal prosecutors from the local US Attorney's Office were not competent to handle civil rights cases. The truth, as has been played out in more cases than not, is that Dobinski had horrendously bad people skills and terrible judgment as to how to proceed in civil rights investigations. She would also play dirty at the drop of the hat, and it was not unusual for important witness to be "discovered" at the very last minute or even during trial.

I'm not in the least surprised that she would try to poison the community against potential defendants - that's her way. And it comes from her arrogance and attitude that since only she has the moral standards and superior intellect to do the job, that her judgment is always correct.

Of course Holder's DOJ will do nothing about her unless the media breaks ranks and speaks out strongly against her. And of course they won't. It used to be the standard that DOJ attorneys should be above reproach in not just their professional but their personal lives. (In practice this usually was applied mostly to just those federal prosecutors in any of the 93 US Attorneys' Offices around the nation - because DOJ attorneys pretty much behaved as they wished.) Now it's gotten to the point that DOJ personnel in "Main Justice" are simply untouchable, even for near-criminal abuse of their power. After all, how can attorneys like Dobinski be disciplined when the evidence is overwhelming that the Department of Justice itself is led by a multiple felon?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you for naming names.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I keep thinking we would not have had ObamaCare forced on us if there had not been prosecutorial misconduct in the Ted Stevens case in Alaska. We need to be much more aggressive in putting prosecutors in jail for misconduct.

Angela Corey in Florida comes to mind as another prosecutor guilty of criminal behavior.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (35)
All Comments   (35)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Karla might have been lawyering in the DOG before the '08 election and swearing in of the new regime, but after that it was gloves off, no quarter given, (no quarter need asked for), no mercy, we can do whatever we damn please to anyone, even to our own who don't quite cotton up to our standards of deconstructionism and relativism... Otherwise there never would have been the Trayvon show trial, the Danziger show trial and a few others.

Thank you Mr Adams for your efforts... from me and the herd.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I believe one of Shakespeare's minor characters may have offered up the most efficient solution to the politicized lawyer problem.

Mine, while not as elegant, is more practical and fits the crime.

First thing we do is fire all the lawyers and make sure they live forever in penury and that they are no longer protected from their misconduct by prosecutorial immunity.

I think Bush II tried a limited version of that, but the Tammany Hall Democrats howled that it was a political act to fire those fine, neo-Marxist DOJ apparatchiks. Hell yes, I say. Fire them anyway.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
The penalty for misconduct by a prosecutor that results in a defendant being convicted should be the same as that to which the defendant is subject and should result in the same permanent criminal record.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dobinski must be Polish for "ugly as sh!t"

Remember BENGHAZI!
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
She's so ugly her momma had to tie a pork chop around her neck so the other puppies would play with her... she fell out of an ugly tree and hit every damn limb... she was the pinata that got beat to death with an ugly stick... she's so ugly Janet Reno wouldn't have her... she HAD to be a lesbian; she's so ugly no man would want her. She deserves an ugly long jail sentence at an ugly old prison where the other ugly lesbos can help her pass the time away...

Remember BENGHAZI!
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
@Rick Caird - What happened with Senator Stevens is emblematic of a structural problem with government and with the Republican Party. No Republican mayor, governor, or President could replace all the appointees in a government with loyal, competent Republicans if his/her life depended on it. Republicans take office, applique a few friends and supporters in the most visible positions and leave the Democrats in charge below that level. GWB left Region 10, one of the most liberal in the Country, almost entirely in Democrat hands and those holdover Democrats took out Senator Stevens and a big chunk of the Alaska Legislature as well.

Any Republican who is serious about governing will take office with a completely revised org chart for his/her government that makes it possible to govern with loyal, competent Republicans. Governments replicated the federal model and the federal government is built to employ the maximum number of Democrats and serve the maximum number of Democrat constituents; government ain't for Republicans!

Any Republican who is serious about governing will fire everybody in that government that he has an arguable legal right to fire as his/her hand is coming off The Bible. Sen. Stevens and a bunch of the Alaska Legislature got taken out by a bunch of holdovers that GWB should have fired as his hand came off The Bible in January 2001. GWB finally figured out he should have fired most of the DOJ and then got mau-maued by the communists, excuse me, Democrats, and it cost him an AG. A bit of testosterone might have been helpful.

Having done if for a couple of decades, I know how hard it is to supervise lawyers and other government advocats; these people are usually pretty good at what they do, know all the rules, and, more importantly, know where the bodies are buried. I could have saved my government a lot of money by stationing most of my staff in Anchorage and Fairbanks rather then Juneau. But, I had to be in Juneau because that was where the Governor and Commissioner were, and there was no way in Hell I was going to have anybody with the power my employees had out of my sight! The trouble with accomplished advocates is that only another accomplished advocate would have a clue that they'd thrown a case or taken a bribe to get a certain outcome, and then, if you tried to fire him over it, you'd never be able to explain it to a lay jury.

So, from my experience, in jobs like that, you fire everybody that you didn't hire immediately on taking office and then you hire somebody that you'd trust to sleep in the same room with your wife to supervise the ones you hire to replace them. There ain't a lot of people like that.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why hasn't Judge Engelhardt reported her to the bar and asked for sanctions?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
The 5 cops or their relatives could make a complaint.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
And who do you think they would complain to. Ask Obama for a pardon?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Historically criminality has always been accepted within the Democrat party because they considered themselves the antidote to the Wasp aristocracy and welcomed anyone with a grudge and dishonesty and hate in their heart. They used to try to conceal it but by the time Clinton came along the culture and the media had become so corrupted that shame went out the window, and now the Obama administration rubs our noses in their criminality and laughs. I'd rather have the Italian mafia in charge, they're more honorable.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
More honorable? No.

More RATIONAL? You bet your sweet ass.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
As a career DOJ employee I have been quite familiar with Karla Dobinski's reputation, which was that she'd do virtually anything to get a conviction. But that attitude is rampant within the Civil Rights Division as a whole, which is peopled by True Believers in the leftist way, and which has been out of control since the early 90's at least.

Lawyers from CRD, including Dobinski, almost always lack good judgment. Dobinski's attitude was that only she had sufficiently high intellect, prosecutorial skills, and, well, morality of required uprightness to successfully prosecute civil rights violations. Her default position was that local law enforcement officers and prosecutors were at best incompetent, usually racist and often corrupt. She thought even the federal prosecutors from the local US Attorney's Office were not competent to handle civil rights cases. The truth, as has been played out in more cases than not, is that Dobinski had horrendously bad people skills and terrible judgment as to how to proceed in civil rights investigations. She would also play dirty at the drop of the hat, and it was not unusual for important witness to be "discovered" at the very last minute or even during trial.

I'm not in the least surprised that she would try to poison the community against potential defendants - that's her way. And it comes from her arrogance and attitude that since only she has the moral standards and superior intellect to do the job, that her judgment is always correct.

Of course Holder's DOJ will do nothing about her unless the media breaks ranks and speaks out strongly against her. And of course they won't. It used to be the standard that DOJ attorneys should be above reproach in not just their professional but their personal lives. (In practice this usually was applied mostly to just those federal prosecutors in any of the 93 US Attorneys' Offices around the nation - because DOJ attorneys pretty much behaved as they wished.) Now it's gotten to the point that DOJ personnel in "Main Justice" are simply untouchable, even for near-criminal abuse of their power. After all, how can attorneys like Dobinski be disciplined when the evidence is overwhelming that the Department of Justice itself is led by a multiple felon?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
this is what happens when the slippery slope is ignored, the media ignores and people in power get corrupted the longer they stay in power
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
When your media is in your pocket and you are not held accountable for ANY corruption, graft, abuse, ...you get hosed
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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