The Washington Post yesterday looked at how disclosures of evidence in criminal trials are affecting their outcomes.
Julia Leighton, general counsel for the Public Defender Service, told the Post
The government continues to fall short of its constitutional obligation to provide exculpatory evidence to the defense in time for the defense to investigate it and present it to the jury at trial. This ongoing failure undermines the fairness of trials.
U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. responded:
The U.S. attorney’s office — along with the rest of the Justice Department — has taken far-reaching steps to ensure that we try to meet and exceed our discovery obligations in every case,” Machen said. “It is because of the integrity of our prosecutors and support staff and our rigorous training that errors are exceedingly rare.
Wrote the Post:
Cases continue to be affected. In March, in a 2-to-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals granted a mistrial in a shooting case against Tyrone B. Miller on the basis of Brady violations.
“A prosecutor’s timely disclosure obligation with respect to Brady material can never be overemphasized,” Judge Frank Schwelb wrote in a 44-page decision. Miller’s retrial is pending.