Thursday, March 15, 2012

Brady Reform Legislation

If one thing is clear from theSchuelke Report, legislation is needed for discovery reform. Senate Bill 2197 does exactly that.  Proposed by  Senator Lisa Mukowski (Alaska) today, along with Senators Inouye, Hutchinson, Begich and Akaka, the bill titled "Fairness in Disclosure of Evidence Act" aims - "[t]o require the attorney for the Government to disclose favorable information to the defendant in criminal prosecutions brought by the United States, and for other purposes." The Brady Supreme Court standard has been around approximately 50 years.  There also are professional responsibility rules that call for disclosure of Brady material.  But what really needs to happen to avoid another Ted Stevens case fiasco is to have this codified in federal law.   

One of the prosecutor responses to the Schuelke Report states - "Because PIN, and, in large part, the Criminal Division, inexplicably had no formal policies or procedures regarding most core investigative and prosecutorial functions ...."  Another takes issue with whether there was a Brady violation.  And several pointed fingers at others.

This bill needs to pass.

See Bill & Synopsis here on the NACDL website.

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