New bill requires courts to instruct a jury when a Brady violation has taken place

29th Jan 2014

cal-capitol-domeCalifornia Assembly Floor Passes AB885 Requiring Courts to Instruct Juries When Brady Violations Occur

Brady v. Maryland is a seminal United States Supreme Court case that holds prosecutors must turn over all exculpatory and potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense.  Failing to do so violates a defendant’s due process rights to a fair trial.  However, until this new bill, the remedy for a Brady violation has been elusive.  Courts have struggled with exactly what to do about the violations for years.  Finally, California is the first state in the nation that seems to be on the path to a resolution– tell the jury about it and let the chips fall where they may.

The action by the Assembly is only a first step.  The bill now moves to the California Senate.  If the Senate passes the bill, it then moves on to Governor Brown’s desk–the last stop before it becomes the law of the State.