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*Note: Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in Clearinghouse material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Constitution Project.

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Amicus Brief in Turner v United States (U.S. Supreme Court, Cert. stage)
Amicus Brief in National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers v Executive Office for United States Attorneys (U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit)
The brief argues that "government agencies cannot cite to secret governmental materials as part of a public debate on an issue, then withhold those materials when the public asks to see them" under a Freedom of Information Act request. At issue is release of the contents of the Federal Criminal Discovery Blue Book, a manual that explains how and when federal prosecutors must disclose information favorable to a criminal defendant pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decision in Brady v. Maryland. The Innocence Project joined TCP in filing the brief.
Amicus Brief in Dennis v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, Merits Stage)
At the request of counsel representing James Dennis, a death row inmate on Pennsylvania's death row, The Constitution Project -- through its Clearinghouse of New Voices on Criminal Justice Reform -- recruited a distinguished group of former prosecutors and judges from 3rd Circuit states to sign on to a brief in support of habeas relief for Mr. Dennis before the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.

Multiple pieces of exculpatory evidence relating to Mr. Dennis’ innocence were not disclosed to the defense at trial. These include a prior inconsistent statement by the prosecution’s star witness that tended to exculpate the defendant, a document that undermined the credibility of an important government witness and bolstered the defendant’s alibi defense, and a file of investigation reports exploring the possibility that someone else may have committed the crime. While Mr. Dennis found no relief in state court for these Brady violations, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted Mr. Dennis habeas relief in August of last year, concluding that: “I am concerned that James Dennis was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to die for a crime he did not commit. Regardless of Dennis' possible innocence, there can be no question that the Commonwealth violated his right to due process of law by withholding exculpatory evidence that would have made a difference at his trial. As a result, after serving over 20 years in prison, Dennis is entitled to receive either a new trial or his freedom.” Dennis v. Wetzel, __F.Supp.2d__, 2013 WL 4457047, *26 (E.D. Pa. 2013)

The amicus brief supports the District Court’s findings, emphasizing that the standards employed by the state courts to deny Mr. Dennis relief not only unreasonably apply Brady and its progeny, but also threaten to erode the standards of fairness to which prosecutors ought to hold themselves and the public’s confidence in the fairness of the criminal justice system.

While the Third Circuit panel reviewing the case declined the prosecutors and judges’ request to file a brief, and then issued a ruling that overturned relief for Dennis, the full panel of the Third Circuit accepted the brief and vacated the panel’s decision on May 6, 2015 when it ordered a rehearing en banc. The Constitution Project thanks the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr for its excellent research and drafting of the attached brief.
Amicus Brief in Buffey v. Ballard (Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia)
Amicus Brief in Turner v. United States (District of Columbia Court of Appeals)
Former judges and prosecutors arguing that the prosecution’s suppression of eyewitness testimony of an alternative perpetrator violated Brady and that the lower court erred in not properly considering the effect of the suppressed evidence and in failing to conduct an independent materiality and cumulative analysis, as required by Brady.
Amicus Brief in Gathers v. U.S. (District of Columbia Court of Appeals)
Arguing that the trial court committed an error by placing the burden of proof on defendants Gathers and Mitchell, rather than on the government, to prove that there was no reasonable likelihood that false testimony affected their verdict. Federal courts are in agreement that when a prosecutor exploits false testimony, a defendant may raise the claim on appeal even if defense counsel was aware of the false evidence and could have objected during trial, therefore, amici argue that the defendants did not waive their claims.
Amicus Brief in Shaygan v. United States (U.S. Supreme Court, Cert. Stage)
Brief from former prosecutors in support of Shaygan arguing that court should grant cert to clarify that Hyde Amendment, which allows acquitted parties to recover attorneys' fees from the government when the position of the United States is in bad faith, allows for the recovery of attorneys' fees from the government when prosecutors intentionally withhold favorable evidence from prevailing defendants.
Amicus Brief in Shaygan v. United States (U.S. Supreme Court, Cert. Stage)
Brief in support of Shaygan arguing that the Hyde Amendment, which allows acquitted parties to recover attorneys' fees from the government when the position of the United States is in bad faith, applies to all prosecutorial misconduct regardless of whether the initial prosecution was brought in bad faith.
Amicus Brief in Rubashkin v. United States (U.S. Supreme Court, Cert. Stage)
Former attorneys general, government officials, United States attorneys, and federal judges seeking review of Sholom Rubashkin's claim that he is entitled to a new trial based on newly discovered evidence of the original trial judge's conflict of interest, and that the sentence imposed, calculated based on federal sentencing guidelines, was unreasonably ling and represented a miscarriage of justice.
Amicus Brief in United States v. Rubashkin (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit)
Brief from Washington Legal Foundation, former prosecutors and judges urging court to reverse excessive prison sentence for Sholom Rubashkin, a first-time, non-violent offender.
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