Thursday, June 8, 2023

Prosecutor successfully sues US Attorney General

U.S. Attorney Charles Pell, who works in Metro Los Angeles, successfully sued US Attorney General Merrick Garland, who heads the Department of Justice (DoJ). Submitted to mediation, the case ended in a favorable agreement to the plaintiff.

Prosecutor successfully sues us attorney general
reproductionMerrick Garland, the US Attorney General, heads the DoJ

Pell, who is white (Anglo-Saxon), has accused some prosecutors, who hold supervisory positions in the California Central District office, of racially discriminatory actions and words against a Latino colleague and black colleagues.

Pell also alleged that he has suffered retaliation at work since he filed an administrative complaint with the attorney general for the Central District of California, Nicola Hanna, against the same supervisors, with the same allegations. However, Nicola Hanna has done nothing to clamp down on such discriminatory actions and words.

The federal prosecutor wrote at the opening of his petition: “This is a case of discrimination, which definitely took place in the last place it should have taken place: in the office of federal prosecutors, responsible for deciding who to investigate, charge and incarcerate; and it took place in one of the most diverse areas of the nation – that of Los Angeles, California”.

Pell cited examples in his petition, such as a supervisor who described a Latino prosecutor’s work as substandard, below the level of “general crimes” for which the prosecution assigns new or newly hired prosecutors. He hinted that she was lazy and claimed that she was not properly prepared to work on the prosecution.

Another prosecutor, with administrative responsibilities, commented that a black colleague was wearing his “pimp outfit.” And one supervisor dubbed a black prosecutor a “black mamba” (a dreaded African snake).

The retaliation against Pell was also due to the fact that he was part of a working group, made up of federal prosecutors, to examine issues of justice and social equity, after several racial minority prosecutors and prosecutors were replaced in the Central District of California by prosecutors. whites and younger. It got to the point, in 2019, that all prosecutors with administrative roles were white.

At this time, multiple accusations of discrimination emerged, including that racial minority prosecutors and prosecutors were passed over for promotions and were assigned only to cases not desirable by their white counterparts.

favorable agreement
In the agreement he reached with the Attorney General’s Office, the federal attorney basically got what he wanted: “a victory for prosecutors for racial minorities and a clear message that this type of racism will not be tolerated in the workplace,” he told the Jornal from the ABA (American Bar Association) to former federal prosecutor and president of West Coast Employment Lawyers, Neama Rahmani.

And a twist in the case of retaliation. The Department of Justice and the Attorney General’s Office for the Central District of California have committed to: 1) removing all derogatory words and phrases from their latest annual assessments; 2) remove from your personnel records a letter of reprimand for alleged unprofessional conduct; 3) restore the “outstanding” rating of his work, which was recommended but, in retaliation, was replaced by “successful” (which weighs on his career).

In addition, the Attorney General has committed to granting 40 hours of paid time off credit (which equals one week) for the time the attorney has lost handling the Equal Employment Opportunity lawsuit.

And, although the lawsuit did not seek any damages, the Attorney General did undertake to reimburse the costs incurred by the attorney: $402 paid in court fees and $5,750 which corresponded to its share of the payment of the mediation made by Judicate West. .

Pell has defended himself against derogatory allegations made against him in reviews, saying he is one of the institution’s most productive federal prosecutors, having, for example, prosecuted 15 criminal cases against 20 defendants over a period of about two years. And that he was awarded “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year” for criminal justice in 2015.

As part of the settlement, a body at the Attorney General’s Office issued a ruling that no instances of discrimination or retaliation were found, which Pell had to agree to. He also had to exempt the Prosecutor’s Office from any charge or demand and waive the right to re-sue the institution for any fact discovered after the agreement was signed, with reference to the same case.

João Ozorio de Melo is a correspondent for the magazine Legal Adviser us United States.

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