The Los Angeles Times editorial board wrote yesterday about Chief Judge Kozinski’s scathing dissent in a recent criminal case in which he described an epidemic of Brady violations among prosecutors. In a piece titled, “Don’t ignore the Brady rule: Evidence must be shared”, the Times editorial board concurs with Kozinski’s summation, arguing, “Courts need to deal more harshly with prosecutors who don’t play fair.”
The editorial outlines the case of Kenneth Olsen, who was convicted of developing a biological agent for use as a weapon. The state withheld evidence from Olsen’s defense attorneys which showed that the forensic scientist responsible for testing the pills alleged to have contained a biological agent had been investigated in another case for his mishandling of evidence, and was found to have lacked diligence in his work and credibility on the witness stand.
The 9th Circuit found that there was a reasonable probability that this information would not have swayed the jury’s verdict in Olsen’s case, and upheld his conviction.
Rather than overlook such violations, the LA Times editorial board argues, courts should sanction prosecutors who withhold Brady material and Congress and state legislatures should enact laws making it harder for prosecutors to commit misconduct.
Read the editorial in full here.