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Midyear Meeting

Criminal Courts Should Provide a Brady Checklist, ABA Says

Posted Feb 14, 2011 9:40 AM CDT
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State and federal judges should provide both prosecutors and defense counsel with a written checklist of the disclosure obligations of prosecutors under 1963’s Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), and its progeny, the ABA’s policymaking House of Delegates said Monday.

Brady requires the production of exculpatory evidence to defense counsel. “A substantial number of verified wrongful convictions have been attributed to the use of testimony or physical evidence that was contradicted or undermined by other evidence in the hands of the prosecution, law enforcement or other government agencies, but was not disclosed to the defense even though it qualified as exculpatory evidence under Brady,” according to the report in support of Resolution 104A.

No suggested checklist was provided in the resolution, with the report noting “each jurisdiction's optimal checklist may vary depending on its understanding of the relevant law and ethics rules, which may themselves vary to some extent among the different jurisdictions.”

The measure, as revised (PDF), passed the House on an overwhelming voice vote. No one spoke in opposition.

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