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Jun 01 2012

Former Drug Prosecutor Arrested for Drug Trafficking

Here’s a sordid story, courtesy of Balko. A former Atlanta prosecutor who specialized in high profile drug cases was arrested in a sting operation and charged with distributing meth and other drugs, as well as weapons charges.

Atlanta attorney Rand Csehy made his mark prosecuting drug dealers; somewhere along the way, police say, he joined the enemy.

On Thursday Csehy, caught in a sting operation, was arrested and charged with drug and firearms violations, including possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy and methamphetamine.

It was rock bottom for a trajectory that started out strong.

Working for Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Csehy once prosecuted drug dealers. Now his arrest could call into question the validity of drug cases that he brought when he was senior assistant district attorney from 2002 until 2006.

Questioned whether Fulton County plans any review of cases brought by Csehy, a spokesperson said, “We have no reason to conduct an internal review … However, should circumstances warrant a different course of action, we will respond appropriately.”

But Lester Tate, immediate past president of the State Bar of Georgia, and a trial attorney, said “there should be some kind of review.” In the past, said Tate, when prosecutors fell from grace, their crimes triggered a re-examination of several cases. Tate said the Fulton prosecutor’s office should look to see if someone was wrongfully incarcerated, if evidence was suppressed that could have led to a not-guilty verdict or might have pointed at another person.

And here’s a very interesting little sidebar: Csehy was also a defense attorney for one of the cops involved in killing Kathryn Johnston and planting drugs in her house.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    rowanvt

    How can they think that a drug dealing prosecutor working a lot of drug cases should not spark some reviews? Was he not in the perfect position to plant evidence, having the damning materials readily at hand?

  2. 2
    Ben P

    How can they think that a drug dealing prosecutor working a lot of drug cases should not spark some reviews? Was he not in the perfect position to plant evidence, having the damning materials readily at hand?

    Prosecutors would very very rarely be in a position to plant evidence. Cops typically do almost all of the investigating and by the time the prosecutor’s office gets the file, the crime scene is long since cleaned up. There are a limited few situations where a prosecutor might be called to the scene, but even then most of the evidence would have already been gathered.

    This story doesn’t quite indicate whether he started this before he left the prosecutor’s office, but if it did, it is more likely the deal was something to the effect of “I’ve got a mutually beneficial proposition for you, you ignore these important guys and we’ll toss you a patsy with a load of drugs every so often so you look like you’re doing your job.”

    If it happened after he got out of the prosecutors office and became a defense attorney, that’s even easier. Many prosecutors go into criminal defense work, and if you were to become the local drug establishment’s go to guy, you’d probably naturally fall into their other operations unless you very deliberately stay out of it.

  3. 3
    rowanvt

    @2, thank you for the clarification!

  4. 4
    steve oberski

    somewhere along the way, police say, he joined the enemy.

    No, he always was the enemy.

    In the insane and out of control war on drugs, the entire continuum of government, bureaucrats, police and the justice system are complicit in the damage that this policy is wreaking on our society.

    In fact he was probably causing less harm by pursuing a career as a drug dealer than he was as a DA throwing people in jail for personal life style choices.

  5. 5
    slc1

    Re Ben P @ #2

    There are a limited few situations where a prosecutor might be called to the scene, but even then most of the evidence would have already been gathered.

    A an example of a prosecutor being called to a crime scene occurred during the O. J. Simpson brouhaha where Marsha Clark showed up at Simpson’s house at the request of Detective Vanatter.

  6. 6
    Jeremy

    The link to the news article didnt work (I’m on an iPhone if that’s relevant )
    Googled the story and this is an odd case. It is linked with a Craigslist drugs for sex investigation. He was arrested at a housing project. Also one of he items found in his bag was brass knuckles. This is just strange. It’s a bit too exploitation film for me to take seriously.

  7. 7
    Ben P

    On further thought I’ll reconsider what I said earlier slightly.

    It’s correct to say prosecutors are rarely in a position to “Plant evidence,” but that doesn’t mean a dirty prosecutor can’t fabricate evidence or cheat on cases by manipulating the evidence. It’s easy enough for a dirty prosecutor and a dirty cop working in concert to find a confidential informant who will conveniently testify that the suspect told him X while in jail, or that the cop should “lose” some exculpatory evidence.

    The effect really isn’t any different than a cop just suddenly “finding” a bag of drugs in your pocket.

  8. 8
    gingerbaker

    Guess things just were Breaking Bad for the prosecutor.

    What a system.

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