Monday, April 30, 2012

Turn over The Prosecutor's File _ NJLJ Editorial Bd

The cure for Brady violations: turn over the entire file, removing the discretion of the prosecutors to do what lawyers are habitually slow to see: the weaknesses in their own case - which the Brady rule of minimum disclosure rule requires them to do. - gwc

The Prosecutor's File:
by the New Jersey Law Journal Editorial Board 
"The Stevens case is not only a reminder of the constitutional requirements upon the prosecution under Brady but also of the fact that discovery in criminal cases in the federal system is almost nonexistent. Federal defendants are entitled to transcripts of their own grand jury testimony, but, in most jurisdictions, virtually nothing else until the time of trial. And even then, federal reports relative to witnesses who testify in the government's case are not provided to the defense until after the direct testimony of the witness. We are informed that in a number of federal jurisdictions, United States attorneys in fact provide more discovery than the federal rules require, although it appears that most adhere to the strictly limited discovery practice.
In state prosecutions in New Jersey, the prosecutor turns over virtually the entire file to defense counsel. The defendant is entitled to grand jury testimony of all witnesses, lists of anticipated prosecution witnesses and witness statements. We have long believed that such broad discovery should be routinely provided in federal prosecutions as well."

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