Ethics Bureau Testimony Helps Free Man After 23 Years


Testimony provided by the Ethics Bureau at Yale Law School led to a man charged with double murder being freed and released from custody after 23 years.

Lamonte McIntyre’s conviction resulted from a trial in which both the judge and prosecutor hid evidence of “outrageous” ethical breaches.  The Clinic students who researched this case said both the Judge and Assistant District Attorney violated their ethical duties as agents and arbiters of the criminal justice system in this case.

The prosecutor was said to have coerced a key eyewitness into perjuring herself on the stand and hid an abundance of materially exculpatory evidence from the defense, according to the clinic. Additionally, the Judge and prosecutor failed to disclose their prior romantic relationship to the defense, the clinic said.

“By neither recusing themselves from the case nor providing the defense with critical information that would have supported a motion for disqualification, the Judge and prosecutor violated their personal duties as officers of the court,” states the clinic report. “More importantly, the concealed relationship obliterated any semblance of judicial impartiality in Mr. McIntyre’s trial and infected every aspect of these proceedings with implicit bias. As a result, Mr. McIntyre was denied his constitutional right to a fair trial.”

The Ethics Bureau clinic helped to prepare Visiting Lecturer in Law and head of the clinic Lawrence Fox’s expert witness report to the court. Christine Smith ’19 and Jessie Garland ’19 helped to prepare Fox for his expert testimony in court.

Following a day-and-a-half hearing, including Professor Fox’s testimony, the District Attorney moved for a new trial and subsequently dropped the charges against McIntyre, stating that the evidence that was withheld from the jury created reasonable doubt as to his guilt.

“Mr. Fox’s testimony was a reminder of the importance of judicial ethics and the role it plays in all parts of a case, from trial to appeal to a motion for a new trial,” said Tricia J. Bushnell, Director of the Midwest Innocence Project, an organization that was involved in the case. “His testimony and report played a critical role in Mr. McIntyre’s case.”

Several other students worked on the case, including Jordana Confino ’15, Jenny Gu ’15, Montae Langston ’16, and Shelle Shimizu ’17.

The Ethics Bureau advises lawyers on how to proceed when faced with violations of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and other ethical dilemmas. Students draft amicus briefs in cases involving professional responsibility; help people with ineffective assistance of counsel claims; and offer ethics advice to nonprofit organizations.

Read more about the case here: