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April 29, 2009

A post-Stevens pitch to formalize prosecutorial disclosure duties

Over at Politico, Josh Gerstein has this fascinating report, headlined "Stevens Judge wants evidence rules changed."  Here is how it starts:

The judge who oversaw the trial of former senator Ted Stevens — and who ordered possible criminal contempt proceedings against six prosecutors on the case — now wants federal court rules changed to make clear that prosecutors have a duty to give defendants all evidence that could aid their defense.

The Stevens case judge, Emmet Sullivan sent a letter Tuesday to another judge who chairs a panel on court rules, urging that the rules for all federal criminal cases impose such a disclosure obligation on prosecutors.  "An amendment...that requires the government to produce all exculpatory information to the defense serves the best interests of the court, the prosecution, the defense, and, ultimately, the public," Sullivan wrote.  "Such a rule would also provide clear guidance to the prosecutor and indeed protect prosecutors from inadvertent failures to disclosure exculpatory information."

April 29, 2009 at 07:33 AM | Permalink

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