The decade's most triggering comedy
A lead prosecutor who worked on the 2001 Chandra Levy murder case in Washington, D.C., has been found to have committed “grave” prosecutorial misconduct, an ethics panel has found.
Amanda Haines, who has retired from practicing law, should have her law license suspended for 60 days, the District of Columbia Board on Professional Responsibility recommended in a 53-page report released Monday. The report found that Haines “failed to uphold her duties” when she took too long to disclose exculpatory evidence to the man once accused of killing Levy, who worked as an intern at the time of her death, Reuters reported.
The panel also determined that Haines did not knowingly fail to disclose that same evidence while prosecuting Ingmar Guandique, an illegal immigrant who was convicted and later exonerated of killing Levy.
Levy was reported missing by her parents on May 6, 2001, after days of being unable to reach her. Police searched her apartment and found her cell phone, wallet, and credit cards, indicating she had not taken off and had every intention of returning home. A month after she disappeared, police searched Levy’s laptop. They discovered she had searched for information about the Pierce-Klingle Mansion, an administrative office building in Rock Creek Park in the northwest area of D.C. Police searched the area but found no sign of Levy.
At first, investigators looked into U.S. Rep. Gary Condit (D-CA), a married representative who was having an affair with Levy. Police cleared Condit and began focusing on Guandique after a jail inmate claimed the immigrant had confessed to killing Levy. Guandique was serving a 10-year prison sentence for assaulting women in Rock Creek Park and was dismissed as a suspect when he passed a polygraph test.
But in May 2002, Levy’s remains were found in Rock Creek Park, and no cause of death was determined. The case went cold until 2008, when The Washington Post published a series of articles criticizing police for not paying more attention to Guandique.
A search of Guandique’s cell in 2008 found a photograph of Levy clipped from a magazine article about the case. After this discovery, investigators began talking to inmates who knew Guandique. One of those inmates, Armando Morales, told law enforcement that Guandique had confessed to the crime, and Guandique was arrested in March 2009 and charged with Levy’s abduction and murder. While no forensic evidence tied Guandique to the crime, he was convicted on all charges and sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Jurors relied on Morales’ testimony, in which he said Guandique told him that he saw Levy running in Rock Creek Park with a fanny pack and attempted to rob her but ended up killing her. Morales said Guandique took the fanny pack and ran.
Morales would go on to deny that he received any benefits for his testimony or that he had helped prosecutors in other cases.
Guandique’s attorneys appealed the conviction and, in 2015, produced evidence that Morales had lied about previous cooperation with prosecutors – and that prosecutors did not disclose that evidence to the defense.
Evidence was also found that no one had ever said Levy was wearing a fanny pack when she disappeared, as Morales had claimed.
In July 2016, a woman named Babs Proller met Morales and began speaking with him over the course of several days. At some point, Morales threatened Proller’s ex-husband, so she started recording their conversations. Morales told her he lied about Guandique confessing to Levy’s murder.
Proller turned the recordings over to authorities, and the charges against Guandique were dismissed on July 29, 2016.
Because he had completed his sentence for prior assaults, he was turned over to immigration authorities and deported in May 2017.
It is still unknown who killed Levy.