The Florida Bar has just issued a new rule requiring felony criminal attorneys to complete a class regarding criminal discovery procedures and the Brady U.S. Supreme Court case. Attorneys have until 2016 to complete the class.
In the Brady case, the Supreme Court held that the prosecution cannot withhold evidence that is favorable to the accused in a criminal trial. In other words, if the prosecutor has evidence that tends to prove the defendant’s innocence, that evidence must be disclosed. If the prosecution fails to disclose this evidence, even by innocent mistake, it would be grounds for overturning a conviction.
Criminal defense attorneys should already be familiar with the Brady decision as well as how criminal discovery works in felony cases. If you are thinking about hiring a criminal attorney for a felony case, make sure that he or she is familiar with the criminal discovery procedures. While the prosecutor should be responsible for making sure he or she discloses all evidence favorable to the criminal defendant, it is often up to the criminal defendant’s attorney to make sure this responsibility is taken seriously.