By SUDHIN THANAWALA, Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A State Bar court recommended suspending the license of a California prosecutor that it found was grossly negligent for failing to disclose information that could have helped a defendant in a murder case.
Judge Pat McElroy in a decision released on Monday recommended that Andrew Ganz lose the ability to practice law for three months. A final decision is up to the California Supreme Court.
Ganz’s attorney, Al Giannini, said his client will consider appealing McElroy’s decision.
Ganz is now a prosecutor in San Francisco, but the disciplinary charges against him stemmed from a case he handled while with the Solano County district attorney’s office.
Ganz was accused of suppressing evidence during the prosecution of Michael Daniels, who was accused of killing his girlfriend, Jessica Brastow, in a Vallejo hotel room in 2012. A jury acquitted Daniels of murder in 2014.
State Bar prosecutors sought a six-month suspension for Ganz, but McElroy said Ganz did not “intentionally commit any act of moral turpitude, dishonesty or corruption,” and acknowledged being sloppy and accepted responsibility for his actions.
“The most important part of this entire decision was that my client was cleared of intentional wrong doing,” Giannini said.
Disciplinary charges against prosecutors are rare. Less than 2 percent of prosecutor misconduct cases result in sanctions, and when they do, the sanctions are usually minor, according to the Center for Prosecutor Integrity.
In California, courts found prosecutorial misconduct in 707 cases between 1997 and 2009, but only six of those prosecutors were disciplined by the State Bar, according to a 2010 study by the Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara Law School.
In Ganz’s case, State Bar prosecutors alleged a Solano County pathologist gave prosecutors detailed information about why their theory of the manner of Brastow’s death was unsubstantiated and she would not list the death as a homicide.
Ganz should have disclosed that information to the defense, but did not, State Bar prosecutors said.