Prosecutor must turn over evidence

Prosecutors Duty to Disclose information

Mark Rollins Criminal Law

Prosecutor must turn over evidence

Prosecutors have a duty to disclose information

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the District of Columbia  you should realize that the government has certain obligations.   The prosecutor must (whether that is the Assistant U.S. Attorney  or Assistant Office of Attorney General) turn over exculpatory information.     The prosecutor must turn over the evidence if

(1) if the information is favorable to the accused;

(2)was the information “material”(had the information been disclosed,reasonable probability of different outcome)

If the prosecutor suppressed the material then your rights could be violated.

 Prosecutor must turn over evidence in a timely manner

Prosecutor must turn over evidence in time for defense to be able to use it effectively.  The prosecutor can not just turn over the possible exculpatory information the day before trial.    The prosecutor can not play and hide and seek, requiring the defense to scavenge for hints of undisclosed Brady material.  Milller v. United States, 14 A3d 1094, 1111(D.C 2011).   Furthermore, the government can not just give summaries.  They must give more than just summaries.  They need to give the grand jury transcripts, etc.  Partial disclosure in a pre-trial motion that did not identify the information is not sufficient according to the Court.

 Prosecutors have a duty to Search for Exculpatory information

Prosecutors have a duty to search for exculpatory information if the branch of government is closely aligned with the prosecution.  So they prosecutor can not say” that’s a different division” Robinson, 825, a2d 318, 324, (DC. 2003);  Prosecutors in the District of Columbia should have systems in place to ensure that it was alerted to the impeaching information.

Prosecutor’s View of Favorability

When a prosecutor is confronted with facially exculpatory evidence (in this case a report that concluded a key witness had made false statements) he cannot suppress suppress it simply because he can explain it away.  Prosecutor should air on the side on the side of caution.It is not for the prosecutor to decide not to disclose information that is on its face  exculpatory based on the assessment of how that evidence might be explained away or discredited at trial, or ultimately rejected by the fact finder.  Miller, 14 a3d at 1110, quoting Zanders v. US, 999 A2d 149, 163-64 (DC 2010)