Monday it was sentencing ....today it's discovery Federal style. Plus, State PD takes the oath. See below.
"I'm gonna report you to the Board of Bar Overseers... "
That was a line from one of our favourite movies: The Verdict, staring Paul Newman. The Judge played by actor Miles O'Shea yells that line at Newman after their first go around in court during the trial.
United States District Judge Mark Wolf has used that line, at least twice now, against Federal Prosecutors in Boston for failing to disclose favourable evidence in a criminal trial to the defense. The Title of the post links to the Boston dot com article. Thanks to the Broward Blog for first posting this article.
Rumpole rants: Time and time again US Attorneys around the nation are being caught withholding exculpatory evidence. Isn't it about time federal prosecutors be required to conduct "open file discovery" like most of their state counterparts?
And when is someone going to look at the Jencks Act and say "well, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard." (For those of you state court practitioners, "Jencks" material is stuff like police reports, grand jury testimony, witness statements etc.)
In Federal court the defense is entitled to all of that good stuff....AFTER THE WITNESS FINISHES DIRECT TESTIMONY. Yes, we have literally seen a prosecutor say "no further questions" to the witness and then wheel over a box of stuff and say "Jencks" while the judge says to the defense: "counsel....cross examination?"
Now that being said, most Judges will gently or otherwise require the prosecution to disclose Jencks material a few days before trial begins. But that is a courtesy and not a right and as a defense attorney you are left essentially begging for a handout. Not a pleasent position to be in.
Anybody want to defend the Feds?
OUR NEW STATE PD IS SWORN IN TODAY. If you haven't gotten your invitation yet, stop checking the mailbox. Yes, a gaggle of Judges and important lawyers will convene today at Miami's Freedom Tower (talk about irony) while a Judge administers the oath. Our new PD will then solemnly swear "I Bennett Brummer do solemnly swear..."
Ok. Carlos Martinez is taking the oath. Good for him. But Mr. Brummer, in these times of fiscal crisis, remains ensconced on the payroll as a "consultant" ready to do what he has always done: tell David Weed to run the office and not cause any trouble.
The more things change....blah blah blah.
See you in Court, not (like Paul Newman did) asking questions we don't know the answer to. But he still won anyway.