Alaska Supreme Court Suspends Former Deputy Attorney General
by Christopher Zoukis
Former Alaska Deputy Attorney General and prosecutor Patrick Gullufsen, 66, was suspended from the practice of law for 18 months in July 2013 after a Superior Court found he had “blatantly lied” about forensic analysis of DNA evidence during the 2010 trial of Jimmy Eacker, who was found guilty of murder.
Eacker’s conviction was tossed out in early 2011 when Superior Court Judge Anna Moran determined that Gullufsen’s conduct amounted to a “flagrant, regardless or negligent disregard of the State’s obligation under the Alaska Constitution.”
Eacker later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
According to court records, Eacker was identified as the chief suspect by a “cold case” squad investigating a 1982 murder. While he was a key suspect in the 1980s, it was not until 2006 that an evidence custodian came across DNA evidence from the case and had it tested. Gullufsen used the DNA evidence to suggest to the jury that blood and semen at the crime scene proved Eacker’s guilt.
However, he failed to tell the jury – or the defense – that a state expert said the evidence was not reliable due to its age and how it was stored; that it had been contaminated by a technician’s own DNA; and, perhaps most importantly, that the DNA profile did not match Eacker’s. Gullufsen had stonewalled Eacker’s defense attorney who requested information about the DNA test by claiming it had not been completed prior to trial.
Gullufsen retired from the Alaska Department of Law in 2010, and that agency is assessing whether “additional corrective steps are warranted,” such as a review of other cases involving the former prosecutor, who admitted to “misleading the court” in the Eacker murder trial.
Since Gullufsen had already retired, the suspension will have little effect.
Sources: www.prosecutorialaccountability.com, www.adn.com
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