Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) proposed a bill with bi-partisan support in The Senate last week that “would mandate that prosecutors turn over all evidence in their possession that may “reasonably appear to be favorable to the defendant,” whether or not it is deemed material to the case. The bill allows prosecutors to seek judicial approval to withhold information that may harm national security or endanger victims or witnesses. Three federal court districts — two in Alabama and one in Florida — already require prosecutors in their jurisdictions to abide by such rules.”
As Seattle criminal defense attorneys who practice in the federal appellate courts The Crowley Law Firm PLLC applauds this trend in fairness in requiring exculpatory evidence to be disclosed by prosecutors. The American Bar Association fully supports the bill and you can read their reaction here. Crowley Law Firm website provides information about the criminal appeals process and defenses here.
Although the Supreme ruled in Brady v. Maryland requiring prosecutors to disclose evidence beneficial to the defense the problems encountered in the Ted Stevens prosecution showed a need to further delineate the requirements for a timely release of exculpatory evidence.
Read the Washington Post opinion in favor of this bill here.
The Crowley Law Firm PLLC specializes in Seattle criminal defense.