What would you do with any employee who was found to have “deliberately violated the law?” If you’re the U.S. Department of Justice, apparently not much. The Times is reporting today that the two Assistant United States Attorneys who deliberately hid exculpatory evidence in Senator Ted Stevens trial are still employed as federal prosecutors.
The problem goes beyond the bad conduct of two federal prosecutors. The requirement to turn over evidence favorable to the defense is based on a series of Supreme Court cases starting with Brady and Giglio, which prosecutors are supposed to understand and follow. However, the federal criminal code and rules of criminal procedure are silent. That may change.
Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, on Thursday introduced a Fairness in Disclosure of Evidence Act (FDEA), which would require prosecutors to disclose early in a case any evidence that exonerates a defendant.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the American Bar Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have all come out in support of FDEA. FDEA is the only hope of changing the Department of “Just-Us” into the Department of Justice.
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