Power-Crazed Prosecutors Are Not Above the Law
Lawyers don't go into government work for the money.
Some do it for the experience. Others see it as a stepping stone to a political career. A few will even choose working for the governmental man as a path to the loan forgiveness.
And -- okay -- some people want to prosecute bad guys and "fight the good fight," but there are also those "public servants" that just get high off the power.
This week, we’ve heard news of two power-crazed prosecutors leaving government service after reports of questionable behavior. In San Diego, Deputy District Attorney Allison Worden tendered her resignation, effective at the end of the month, following a traffic-ticket-fixing scandal, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. In Florida, Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney Ari Pregren lost his job after flashing his badge at a strip club to get free admission and surcharge-free lap dances, according to the Miami New Times’ Riptide blog.
Let’s take a look at where they went wrong.
In 2011, Worden and fellow Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund were cited for violating seat belt laws at a “Click It or Ticket” seat belt checkpoint. Worden — the passenger — was cited for not wearing her seat belt, while Maund — the driver — was cited for allowing Worden to ride without a seat belt. Worden reportedly tried to sweet-talk her way out of the ticket by mentioning to the cop that she and Maund were deputy district attorneys. When that didn’t sway the long arm of the law’s ticket-writing hand, she asked her friend, police Sgt. Kevin Friedman, to “do something.”
Worden maintains that she never asked Friedman to destroy or delete any tickets. She claims she called him to complain that the ticketing officer invaded her personal space, according to the Union-Tribune. Either way, the scandal from avoiding a $142 ticket cost her a job.
Pregren, for what it’s worth, concedes that he screwed up. Not that he had a choice. Riptide explains:
On January 26, the Miami-Dade assistant state attorney gained free admission for himself and two pals into downtown Miami’s Goldrush by flashing his work badge at the club’s executive manager, Jeff Levy. A few hours later, Pregen again whipped out his law enforcement credentials so he wouldn’t have to pay a 15 percent credit card surcharge on lap dances he purchased. Seven days later, Pregen pulled the same stunt.
Levy, fed up with Pregren’s badge-flashing, filed a complaint with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. Pregen twice denied abusing his badge, but the video footage of him doing just that undermined his credibility.
Pregren was fired because the office “had proof that Mr. Pregen’s assertions were false” and “found his statements not to be credible.”
If you’re a prosecutor toiling away in a far-sub-six-figure gig, avoid repeating Allison Worden and Ari Pregren’s mistakes. Abusing your power could cost you your job, but extended diatribes about good-versus-evil will only cost you your friends.
- Assist Your Client with a Break-In? Lose Your License (FindLaw’s Greedy Associates)
- San Diego County Prosecutor Resigns in Wake of Conviction in Ticket-Fixing Case (ABC-10 San Diego)
- Berkeley Law Students Charged in Exotic Bird’s Beheading in Vegas (FindLaw’s Greedy Associates)