A recent Letter to the Editor of the New York Times signed by Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz, defense attorney Ron Kuby, former NYCLU director Norman Siegel, and defense attorney Earl Ward praises the Times for calling on prosecutors’ offices to adopt an open file policy in its January 5 editorial, “Rampant Prosecutorial Misconduct”.
We applaud your Jan. 5 editorial “Rampant Prosecutorial Misconduct.” It is essential to the integrity of our criminal justice system that if a prosecutor fails to disclose information of an exculpatory nature to the accused, a judge uphold the principles and values of the United States Supreme Court’s 1963 seminal decision in Brady v. Maryland by requiring prosecutors to turn over the information.
To do otherwise undermines public trust in our criminal justice system. We, as a country and a city, cannot afford that.
You correctly call upon prosecutors’ offices to “adopt a standard ‘open file’ policy” disclosing all exculpatory evidence to enforce this cornerstone legal mandate. But if prosecutors do not maintain such a standard, it is crucial that judges hold the prosecutors accountable for misconduct, and where necessary consider dismissing charges against the accused to enforce the promise of the Brady decision and create an effective deterrent to future prosecutorial misconduct.
New York, Jan. 10, 2014
Read our previous post on the Times editorial here.