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Texas prosecutors chat on public e-bulletin board

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Thanks to Grits for Breakfast — constantly a source of information for our blog — for making it known not only that the Texas prosecutor’s association’s chatroom is available to the entire public, but also for pointing to a chilling discussion of the incorrectly narrow, and sometimes uninformed, definition that so many prosecutors have of the Brady/exculpatory evidence that must be revealed to the defense.

For any reason that the above-described Brady chat becomes non-public. The problem here is that in too many jurisdictions, prosecutors are given the discretion to self-police themselves about the discovery material they are required to divulge pursuant to governing laws and court orders. That is like having the foxes govern themselves while watching over the henhouse. Many prosecutors are so overloaded with cases that their workload alone can fuel non-disclosure of evidence that they are required to disclose. The prosecutorial discovery disclosure path can become more rotten as it is walked.

Jon Katz.