Former New York County District Attorney Robert M. Morganthau recently sent a letter to the editor to the New York Times discussing the missed opportunity of the U.S. Supreme Court’s failure to grant certiorari in the William Kuenzel case, an Alabama death row prisoner who has maintained his innocence for 25 years.
In Morganthau’s words, “The Supreme Court could have cut through the legal thicket of procedural impediments and held the state government accountable for flouting Brady. But the court refused. As a result, the unthinkable consequence of the toothless Brady rule will be that an innocent man is executed and the prosecutor goes unpunished for his misconduct.”
Our colleagues over at Simple Justice did a terrific blogpost about Morganthau’s letter and the amicus brief it echoes. Mr. Morganthau filed the amicus in support of the Supreme Court taking the Kuenzel case. The brief was co-authored by Gilbert I. Garcetti, the former D.A. of Los Angeles, and E. Michael McCann, the former District Attorney of Milwaukee. As Simple Justice notes, in their brief, the three former D.A.’s remind the court that they have over 100 years of experience between them and have collectively been responsible for 7 million criminal prosecutions – a strong reminder of what a profound impact a single D.A. can have.