Criminal Discovery

In the seminal 1963 case of Brady v. Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the U.S. Constitution requires prosecutors to disclose information to criminal defendants that could be helpful to them in their defense.  However, for years, federal courts and the Department of Justice have articulated inconsistent, shifting, and sometimes contradictory standards for what information a prosecutor must disclose, leaving individual prosecutors to determine the scope of their obligations. Additionally, while the overwhelming majority of prosecutors operate in good faith, occasionally, federal and state prosecutors intentionally conceal exculpatory evidence in violation of their legal and ethical duties.  The Constitution Project is working to create clear, uniform, statutory requirements for the disclosure of favorable evidence and to impose meaningful consequences when prosecutors fail to meet their obligations.

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