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ACLU/SC Statement on LADA's Revisiting of Policies Over Exculpatory Evidence

ACLU/SC Statement on LADA's Revisiting of Policies Over Exculpatory Evidence

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ACLU/SC Applauds LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey For Revising Policies Related to Disclosure of Evidence Favorable to Criminal Defendants
ACLU/SC Applauds LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey For Revising Policies Related to Disclosure of Evidence Favorable to Criminal Defendants

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08/21/2013

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 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Vicki Fox,vfox@aclu-sc.org,June 11, 2013213.977.5227
ACLU/SC Applauds LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey For Revising PoliciesRelated to Disclosure of Evidence Favorable to Criminal Defendants
LOS ANGELES – The ACLU of Southern California (ACLU/SC) commends LA District AttorneyJackie Lacey for adopting new policies that address the way that the DA’s office maintains anddiscloses evidence of misconduct by police officers and other governmental employees. Thenew policies will ensure that such evidence is disclosed to criminal defendants, as required byfederal and state law. A lawsuit filed in July 2012by ACLU/SC, law firm Bird Marella, Harvard Law Professor CharlesOgletree, and USC Law Professor Michael Brennan challenged the constitutionality of theformer policy, adopted by Ms. Lacey’s predecessor Steve Cooley. The lawsuit,
Douglas v.Cooley 
, alleged that the former policies were illegal because they prevented, and in some casesexplicitly prohibited, prosecutors from disclosing evidence of police officer misconduct innumerous circumstances.“The ACLU appreciates that Ms. Lacey revised the District Attorney’s policies to ensure thatprosecutors under her supervision fully comply with the U.S. Constitution and state law,” saidHector O. Villagra, Executive Director for the ACLU of Southern California. “We commend her for demonstrating such strong leadership and taking seriously the District Attorney’sconstitutional obligations to ensure fair trials.”The new policies, which Ms. Lacey issued last week, address a number of the claims raised inthe lawsuit. The revised policies include:
Explaining that some evidence of alleged misconduct by police officers and other government employees is not included in the “Brady Alert System,” a database for trackingsuch information, and creating a process so information not included in the database can betracked and disclosed in relevant cases;
Stating that checking the Brady Alert System is only one step prosecutors must take to fulfilltheir obligations to find and disclose evidence favorable to defendants;
 Acknowledging that California law requires disclosure of 
all 
evidence favorable todefendants; and
Stating that prosecutors cannot decline to disclose evidence that appears to help thedefendant because the prosecutor believes the information is false.

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