(Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)

(Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)

Judge recommends 90-day suspension for SF prosecutor who failed to disclose evidence in murder case

A State Bar Court judge has recommended a 90-day suspension for a San Francisco assistant district attorney found to have negligently failed to disclose evidence that could have helped defense attorneys in a murder case.

In a decision filed Monday, Judge Pat McElroy found Assistant District Attorney Andrew Ganz culpable of four of six counts of prosecutorial misconduct stemming from a 2013 murder trial in Solano County. McElroy recognized that the suspension “would be detrimental” to Ganz’s career as a prosecutor.

“But the need to uphold the administration of justice and the ‘professional keeping of lawyers,’ and not let those with power grow ‘sloppy’ in violation of the constitutional rights of defendants, guilty or not, preempts [Ganz’s] personal career,” McElroy wrote in the 48-page decision.

The charges stem from the case against Michael Daniels in the 2012 killing of his ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Brastow, who was suffocated in a motel room in Vallejo. Ganz tried the case before joining the District Attorney’s Office in San Francisco.

Among the findings, McElroy found Ganz failed to disclose a meeting he had with the medical examiner in which evidence was discussed that suggested the murder weapon may not have been a sock that Ganz argued was used to kill Brastow.

District Attorney George Gascon had anticipated a “favorable outcome” for Ganz before he stood trial in State Bar Court in August.

A few weeks after the State Bar of California charged Ganz, Gascon expressed his support for him in an email sent to the entire District Attorney’s Office in April.

“Based upon the information I have, I am hopeful that this process will result in a favorable outcome for Andrew,” Gascon wrote in the email. “During this time, Andrew has my support.”

The District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Al Giannini, who represented Ganz in State Bar Court, said Wednesday morning that he is considering appealing the findings and suspension.

“The most important part of the decision which we do agree with is that there is no intentional misconduct here,” Giannini said. “The information was readily available to the defense.”

The judge found that Ganz acted with gross negligence rather than intent.

Giannini worried that publicity around the case would “make it impossible” for Ganz to pick a jury for a trial in the future.

“I am hopeful that since Andrew was cleared of any deliberate misconduct that all or some of his career will be salvageable,” Giannini said.

If no appeal is filed, the California Supreme Court will decide whether to finalize the ruling.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi has used the misconduct charges against Ganz to argue for the dismissal of a current murder case in San Francisco that Ganz tried at preliminary hearing.

Adachi claims Ganz did “substantially the same thing” in the case against Carlos Argueta as in the Daniels case by causing a witness to change their testimony during the preliminary hearing.

“Hopefully the takeaway from this for other prosecutors isn’t that he’s only going to get a tap on the wrist, but that prosecutors can and will be found accountable for falsifying and hiding evidence,” Adachi said Wednesday. “Unfortunately this kind of conduct is not uncommon.”

Adachi is still waiting for a ruling on a motion he filed to dismiss the Argueta case in part based on Ganz’s State Bar charges.

That case is currently in jury selection.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com
Crime

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

(Examiner file photo)
Charter amendment effort would replace elected school board with appointed body

Critics of the San Francisco Unified School District board on Monday formally… Continue reading

Jill Bonny, owner of Studio Kazoku tattoo parlor in the Haight, tattoos client Lam Vo on Friday, March 5, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
No one was fighting for tattoo artists, so they started advocating for themselves

Jill Bonny has been tattooing in the Bay Area since 2000. Four… Continue reading

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted changes to The City's streets including Slow Streets closures to increase open space access and the Shared Spaces program, which allows businesses to use public right-of-ways for dining, retail and services. (Examiner illustration)
COVID is reshaping the streets of San Francisco

Walk down Page Street, which is closed to thru-traffic, and you might… Continue reading

Brandi Harrapence, right, has lunch with her daughter Kayla Harrapence inside Firestone Grill in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, open for inside dinning for the first time in nearly a year, on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 in San Luis Obispo, California. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
California is far from herd immunity, making a 4th COVID-19 wave possible. Here’s how

Rong-Gong Lin II and Luke Money Los Angeles Times California is optimistic… Continue reading

Stanford’s Ashten Prechtel shoots a layup as three Oregon State defenders look on during a Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament semifinal game on Friday, March 5, 2021, at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas. Bryan Steffy/Pac-12 Pool Photo
No. 4 Stanford women cruise to Pac-12 Tournament title

Kiana Williams is heating up just in time to head home. The… Continue reading

Most Read