The New York Times recently cited New Orleans (under a previous D.A.) as “among the worst” when it comes to prosecutors refusing to share case evidence with defendants. And the news that the trial of Trung Le, who is accused of the 2014 Bourbon Street shooting, will be delayed because the state won’t share its witness list with Mr. Le’s attorney shows that this debate continues.
While prosecutors are generally obligated to turn over exculpatory (a.k.a. “Brady”) evidence, what happens when evidence is not clearly exculpatory, but might nonetheless be relevant? Wouldn’t turning over all evidence, as some states do with “open file discovery,” help avoid convicting the innocent while also convincing guilty defendants (who would see the evidence against them in its entirety) to plead guilty and avoid a trial that the taxpayers must pay for?
Check out Court Watch NOLA’s 2013 Report Recommendations for more information on why the D.A. should consider “open file discovery.” That would be one way to stay off the Times’ worst-case scenario list.