Earlier this summer, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Snyder received an informal admonition from the D.C. Office of Bar Counsel. He was accused of making false statements to a judge in the early stages of a group of murder and obstruction of justice prosecutions. It's an outcome one defense lawyer involved in the cases called "ludicrous," given a judge's earlier findings that Snyder committed other serious ethics violations.
Bar counsel found Snyder violated the rules of professional responsibility by telling a judge he didn't know of any psychiatric conditions related to a key government witness. In fact, bar counsel said, Snyder hadn't searched the witness' juvenile records, which he knew existed, and was aware of other information about the witness' mental health. An informal admonition is the lightest form of discipline available.
Paul Riley, a Washington solo practitioner who represented a defendant in one of the cases at issue, said the admonition was "ludicrous." Snyder's handling of the mental health records was a minor issue, he said, especially when compared to disclosure violations that a judge found Snyder committed in a related case. Riley said he wasn't involved in filing a complaint with bar counsel.