Potential Ethics Rule for CA Prosecutors

State Could Soon Impose Ethics Rule on Prosecutors
– Daily Journal

The Daily Journal interviewed Manatt's Kenneth Julian, a partner in the firm's litigation practice, for an article on a new Star Bar panel's efforts to create a Brady-like rule in California.

The Daily Journal reports that California is the only state that does not impose an ethical obligation on criminal prosecutors to turn over exculpatory evidence to the defense. A new State Bar panel tasked with rewriting the bar's attorney ethics rules is beginning to consider a rule that could tell prosecutors to "make timely disclosure" of evidence or information that "tends to negate the guilt of the accused" or lessen the charges.

Julian said that an office with 20 prosecutors will have 20 different opinions about how to carry out the Brady rule, the U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring prosecutors to disclose exculpatory evidence in the government's possession that "is material either to guilt or to punishment."

"It's time to have a uniform standard and uniform pressure on the prosecution" to turn over exculpatory evidence, he said.

A professional conduct rule also would encourage more judges to push prosecutors to disclose such material, and to do it far enough in advance of trial that the defense could make good use of it, he said.



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