Thursday, October 9, 2008
It sounds like the government has several issues in its prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens.
- For one there has been the question of whether the prosecution has provided all exculpatory material to the defense. It is mandatory that all exculpatory material be turned over to the defense. In addition to this being a requirement of law, it is also in the rules of professional conduct that regulate many attorneys. Rule 3.8 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct provide -
The Prosecutor in a criminal case shall: ...(d) make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense.....except when the prosecutor is relieved of this responsibility by a protective order of the tribunal.
The court allowed the case to proceed, but the judge's comments to the jury could hurt their credibility with the jury. Del Quentin Wilber, Washington Post, Judge Assails Evidence in Stevens Trial -Jurors to Be Told to Ignore Two Pieces From Scolded Prosecution
- To tell the jury to disregard evidence presented because prosecutors had knowledge that the witness had worked in a different state for time listed in the records, also hurts credibility. See James Vicini, Washington Post (Reuters), Prosecutors wrap up case against Sen. Stevens; BLT Blog, Federal Judge Slams Prosecution in Stevens Trial -- Again
- Cooperating witnesses are always subject to scrutiny. But when the cooperating witness has benefitted enormously by cooperating with the government, the testimony becomes suspect. What was the benefit here and will if effect the credibility of the witness? see here.
- And is the evidence sufficient here to sustain a conviction - the ultimate question that the jury will be resolving.
- Having the defense bring in a Democrat senator as a character witness is powerful to say the least. See Del Quentin Wilber, Washington Post, Inouye Praises Steven's Integrity