Wednesday, January 28, 2009
US Attorney criticized for "egregious failure" to disclose exculpatory evidence
The ABA Journal.com reports today that the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts has issued a 42-page ruling blasting the U.S. attorney there over an alleged pattern of violations by his office of a requirement that exculpatory evidence must be disclosed to the defense in criminal cases. "The egregious failure of the government to disclose plainly material exculpatory evidence in this case extends a dismal history of intentional and inadvertent violations of the government's duties to disclose in cases assigned to this court," writes Chief Judge Mark Wolf in his Jan. 21 opinion. In it, he orders U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and an assistant prosecutor, Suzanne Sullivan (who are not related), to file affidavits by Feb. 5 explaining why she and/or the U.S. Attorney's Office should not be sanctioned, reports the Boston Globe.