NYSACDL continues to take issue with local District Attorneys’ responses to NYSBA Criminal Justice Section Chair Marvin Schecter’s denouncement of the failure by prosecutors to recognize and adhere to their Constitutional obligation to disclose favorable information to the defense. Lawrence Goldman, New York practitioner and NYSACDL Past President writes to the Editor of the New York Law Journal “the vast majority of [Brady] violations are due to the prosecutors’ lack of understanding of and inattention to the Brady obligations imposed on them, and not on deliberate, willful violations of those duties. Thus, I do not believe that the District Attorneys are actually, in the words of their letter,* “teaching their assistants to violate the Constitution.” However, it is equally clear to me that District Attorneys are not placing much emphasis on “teaching their assistants to follow the Constitution” with respect to their Brady obligations either. ’More Training for Prosecutors‘, NYLJ, August 3, 2012.
NYSACDL Past President Daniel Arshack echoes this sentiment in a Letter to the Editor “What sanction did [Bronx D.A. Robert Johnson's] office level on the assistant whose ‘inexcusable’ and ‘deplorable’ ‘misconduct’ resulted in a mistrial** and a variety of additional disclosures ordered by the court? None. That’s the most important training that prosecutors get. This just supports the fact that “they just don’t get it.” ’Prosecutor’s ‘Don’t Get It‘, NYLJ, August 3, 2012.
* Prosecutors responded to NYSACDL President Richard Willstatter’s Letter to the Editor and Mr. Schector’s original column in ’Brady’ Comments Are Inaccurate and Below the Belt‘, Robert T. Johnson, District Attorney, Bronx County, NYLJ August 1, 2012 and ’Bar Leaders’ ‘Brady’ Response Creates Rift‘, Charles Hynes, District Attorney, Kings County, NYLJ August 1, 2012
** The Case at issue is People v. Benjamin Waters, 571/2007, NYLJ 1202548527715, at *1 (Sup., BX, Decided) 4/11/2012, Edgar Walker, J.S.C.