A high-ranking Nassau prosecutor has lost her job after a judge recently found she violated a legal rule by failing to disclose material favorable to the defense of two men facing domestic violence charges.
The resignation Wednesday of Assistant District Attorney D.J. Rosenbaum, who led the Child Abuse Unit, followed Nassau Supervising Judge Christopher Quinn’s recent decisions that she violated what’s known as the Brady rule in two cases. The rule says prosecutors have to give the defense evidence that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigate the seriousness of the alleged crime.
“When a prosecutor avoids justice in order to pad their conviction rate, our system fails completely,” Michael DerGarabedian, the attorney for both men, said Thursday. “Nobody should sit in jail for two years while the district attorney’s office is withholding evidence.”
Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for District Attorney Madeline Singas, confirmed Thursday that Rosenbaum had resigned a day earlier after his office requested she do so “based on our review of these matters.”
“Maintaining the integrity of our prosecutions, ensuring the safety of our victims and holding offenders accountable for their criminal acts are our primary concerns,” he added. “ . . . We stand ready to continue these prosecutions and proceed to trial. Any allegation that a prosecutor has failed to make a required disclosure will be reviewed by our Conviction Integrity Unit.”
Rosenbaum, who has worked for the county since 2000 and has no state record of public discipline as an attorney, couldn’t be reached Thursday.
The developments came after DerGarabedian asked Quinn to sanction the district attorney’s office for prosecutorial misconduct by dismissing the charges. The Rockville Centre lawyer told Quinn that Ean Soley, 42, of Hempstead, was in jail for two years while the prosecution was “sitting on evidence that absolved my client.”
Soley, now free after Quinn lowered his bail, faces charges including burglary, criminal contempt and criminal obstruction of breathing for allegedly assaulting his son’s mother. The judge kicked Rosenbaum off Soley’s case in April.
Quinn also found the prosecution acted improperly by not disclosing for more than 18 months texts and calls from Soley’s cellphone that were Brady material.
Two weeks ago, Quinn found a Brady rule violation in the case of Ernest Cassano, 32, of Levittown, and also began probing whether Rosenbaum was negligent or intentionally withheld potentially exculpatory evidence in the case.
Police arrested Cassano in 2015 for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend and he faces charges including strangulation, coercion and assault.
In that case, Executive Assistant District Attorney Maureen McCormick sent DerGarabedian a letter saying another prosecutor found “a discrepancy in information and testimony regarding a statement” Cassano made to police. She said her office wouldn’t use Cassano’s statements as evidence and Singas had ordered an ethics review to see if Rosenbaum mishandled Brady material.
DerGarabedian said Rosenbaum “willfully withheld” notes she generated from interviewing one of the police officers on the case that contradicted another officer’s grand jury testimony.
In his Cassano decision, Quinn noted the prosecution declined to share ethics review findings, and ordered Singas’ office to turn over its files so he can decide whether to impose sanctions.
Rosenbaum’s resignation follows a recent case in which a Suffolk prosecutor resigned after a judge dismissed a murder charge mid-trial when the defense showed evidence had been withheld.