Grievance Against Miss Gregory

Who: A group of law professors filed an ethics complaint in March 2022 against attorney Miss Gregory, alleging that Gregory engaged in misconduct in two cases she prosecuted on behalf of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. In both cases, the complaint alleges that her misconduct led to reversal of the convictions. The law professors filed the complaint with the Grievance Committee for the Second, Eleventh & Thirteenth Judicial Districts, the body that handles ethics complaints against attorneys in Kings County. The following summary is based on the complaint.

What: The ethics complaint, also known as a grievance, is based on Fuentes v. Griffin, a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decision , and People v. Lebovits, an Appellate Division decision.

According to the ethics complaint, in Fuentes, the Second Circuit court found that Gregory improperly withheld medical records from the defense, leading the court to overturn the conviction due to this Brady violation. Additionally, the complaint alleges that the Second Circuit decision suggests that Gregory falsely told defense counsel that she had already provided all the medical records. The dissenting opinion–which would not have reversed on Brady grounds–referred the matter to the Grievance Committee as “such conduct could certainly form the basis of professional discipline for ethical violations.”

In People v. Lebovits, the complaint alleges that the Appellate Division held that Gregory withheld police notes of a witness interview in violation of the Rosario rule, resulting in “substantial prejudice” that required reversal of the conviction. Moreover, the court found that Gregory compounded this violation by committing summation misconduct.

What rules are involved: The complaint notes that prosecutors wield immense power, the power to seek punishment on behalf of the state, and should be held to the highest ethical standards. The grievance calls for an investigation into Gregory’s conduct in light of the following ethical rules:

  • Rule 3.8(b), previously codified in New York’s Code of Professional Responsibility DR 7-103, requires a prosecutor to make “timely disclosure…of the existence of evidence, known to the prosecutor or other government lawyer, that tends to negate the guilt of the accused, mitigate the degree of the offense or reduce the punishment.” Two other rules similarly require disclosure and prohibit knowing concealment of evidence.
  • Under DR 7-102 (of the Code of Professional Responsibility, later replaced by the Rules of Professional Conduct), the rule in effect at the time of the Fuentes trial, attorneys could not knowingly make a false statement to the court or use evidence they knew to be false.
  • DR 1-102 prohibited attorneys from engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, prejudicial to the administration of justice, or that adversely reflected on their fitness to practice law.
  • Rule 3.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, in effect at the time of the Lebovits trial, requires the disclosure of any evidence that a lawyer has a legal obligation to produce and prohibits the knowing failure to disclose such evidence.
  • Under Rules 8.4(d) and 8.4(h), also in effect during the Lebovits trial, a lawyer shall not engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice or engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness as a lawyer.

What can be done about it: The law professors’ complaint calls for the Grievance Committee to investigate and issue public discipline, including either suspension or disbarment. It also calls for a broader investigation into other cases prosecuted by the same prosecutor, and to determine whether supervising and managing attorneys in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office complied with their duties under Rule 5.1 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct. Additionally, the complaint asks the Committee to identify any prosecutors trained and/or supervised by Gregory and determine whether instances of prosecutorial misconduct can be found in their work as prosecutors.

Update: As of January 1, 2024, the Grievance Committee has not informed the complainants whether there was (or will be) an investigation, what any investigation revealed, and whether discipline was (or will be) imposed as a result of this alleged misconduct. Deprived of such information, the public has no way to evaluate whether this government body is doing its job. We call on the Grievance Committee to make its proceedings and findings in this matter transparent to the public.

Any member of the public is able to see an attorney’s record of public discipline on the Attorney Detail Report.

Note: This is a summary based on the grievance, click on the grievance below for more detail. The grievance authors do not have personal knowledge of any of the facts or circumstances of the attorney or case(s) mentioned; the grievance is based on court opinions, briefs and/or other documents cited therein.