Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Prosecutor's Duty to Disclose Exculpatory Information
The ABA's Standing Committee on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsiblity has just issued a new opinion, Formal Op. 09-454 (2009) which holds that a prosecutor's ethical duty under Model Rule 3.8 is broader in scope than the constitutional requirements under Brady v. Maryland. The key difference, according to the Committee, is that Rule 3.8 (d) "requires the disclosure of evidence or information favorable to the defense without regard to the anticipated impact of the evidence or information on the trial's outcome." (emphasis added). In contrast, the constitutional standard is that the prosecutor need only turn over material evidence which means that the trial's outcome would likely had been different had the disclosure been made.