In a justice system based on "innocent until proven guilty,"
this main principle seems awfully hard to fulfill when key members aren't
playing by the rules. As recently evidenced in New Orleans and perpetuated
throughout the country, prosecutors are struggling to follow key pieces
of the Constitution.
The New York Times shared an article highlighting two men who were convicted
of murder in 1975. They spent 27 years in jail and were exonerated in
2002. But on what grounds? The prosecution involved in the case were pinpointed
with failing to yield critical information that held value for the defendants.
According to Brady v. Maryland, this is a direct violation of the Constitution.
What does Brady v. Maryland mean for prosecutors?
This decision made by the Supreme Court requires all prosecutors to divulge
any evidence that has the ability to exonerate a defendant. According
to the defendants of the murder case, the prosecutors did the exact opposite
and they sued the office of the New Orleans district attorney because of it.
That same office clearly did not train prosecutors in the Brady rule, which
led to the exoneration of at least 12 people since 1990. Because the government
is only liable if a court finds a repeated failure to train on the Brady
rule, it seems like the men's lawsuit would pass with flying colors.
In reality, it is quite the opposite.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied the lawsuit
in favor of the district attorney's office. This decision left people
scratching their heads, especially as one Justice said that this office
completely ignored the basis constitutional rights of defendants.
Fixing the Problem Starts Right Here
The defendants of the murder case are now asking for a review of their
case and approval to sue the New Orleans prosecutor's office for money
damage because their rights were violated. If approval is granted, this
could be a real wakeup call for the government.
Prosecutors in other states are following in the path of New Orleans and
it is difficult to hold anyone truly accountable. Ohio and North Carolina
are some of the only states requiring prosecutors to submit their criminal
case files to the defense.
Whatever happens, it will signify a turning point for prosecutors in the
United States. Whether that turning point will be in a positive or negative
direction remains to be seen.
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
How Wyndel Darville Fights Prosecutorial Misconduct
"Brady violations are born out of ends justify the means prosecutions.
Since September 11, 2001, State and Federal prosecutors have been given
almost limitless powers with little accountability for mistakes, omissions
and sometimes unconstitutionally malicious acts to obtain convictions.
To defend you, I use retired former FBI and Homeland Security agents to
help build your defense. In criminal litigation the best defense is a
good offense." - Wyndel Darville
If you believe that you or a loved one has been a victim of a wrongful
conviction and a violation of the Brady Rule,
contact us now to
schedule a free initial consultation with
Mr. Darville, Sarasota
criminal defense attorney, and explore your options for taking legal action.