A prosecutor faces suspension for withholding evidence in the trial of Ingmar Guandique, who was convicted in 2010 and later exonerated in the murder of federal intern Chandra Levy. On Monday, July 31, 2023, the D.C. Board on Professional Responsibility determined that Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Haines violated several ethics rules by failing to disclose important impeachment evidence about a key witness until mid-trial.

The evidence centered around a letter indicating that Armando Morales, the sole witness tying Guandique to Levy’s 2001 murder, had previously “debriefed to law enforcement.” This contradicted Morales’ explanation at trial that he had delayed reporting Guandique’s alleged jailhouse confession for years because he didn’t trust the police and had never cooperated with them before.

“Morales was ‘devastating as a witness’ because he came across basically as someone who ‘had a prior criminal record’ but had ‘never been any sort of law enforcement informant,’” the Board’s report stated. “Had Morales’ prior debriefing been disclosed before trial, defense counsel testified that they would have sought information in the Fresno law enforcement files (through litigation, if necessary), spoken to law enforcement officials there, and sought other witnesses who might have helped undermine Morales’ testimony.”

The Board determined Haines should have disclosed the evidence at least two weeks before trial when Judge Fisher ordered the prosecution to produce certain impeachment materials.

“In the District of Columbia, defense counsel must be provided with exculpatory evidence with sufficient time to permit ‘effective’ use of the evidence at trial, and ‘effective use’ contemplates some ability to investigate that evidence,” the Board wrote.

Haines was charged with violating ethics rules requiring prosecutors to disclose exculpatory evidence and prohibiting conduct that seriously interferes with the administration of justice. The Board found Haines violated both rules but declined to find she intentionally suppressed evidence.

“By withholding crucial evidence, albeit based upon a mistaken and unreasonable understanding of that evidence, [Haines] failed to uphold her duties,” the Board wrote. “Her inactions set in motion a cascade of events that underscore the importance of deterring such misconduct.”

The Board dismissed charges against a second prosecutor, Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez. It found he was relieved of responsibility for the witness by the time of the disclosure deadline set by the judge.

Haines also admitted to improperly emailing confidential case information to her boyfriend. The Board recommended a 60-day suspension for her misconduct.

Haines, aged 61, dedicated a quarter-century of his legal career to handling cold homicide cases at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District. She retired from the practice of law in 2021.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.