The U.S. Supreme Court has granted review in a murder case where Virginia prosecutors hid exculpatory evidence and defied a federal judge in a death-penalty case. This could be a pivotal moment for the enforcement of the “Brady Rule.”
The case, Wolfe v. Clarke, has had a long and complicated history since the murder was committed on March 15, 2001. Here are the facts:
According to an article by Andrew Cohen from The Atlantic, “They didn't just hide material evidence from Wolfe. They didn't just tamper with witness testimony. They then sought to hide their misdeeds by arguing, over and over again, that it was everyone else who was lying under oath. That the only credible story was the one they were spinning.”
Under the “Brady Rule,” set forth in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), state prosecutors had an absolute duty to disclose materially exculpatory evidence in the government’s possession to the defense.
My view: The courts have done very little to prevent cases like these happening. I am looking to Justice Sotomayor, who is one of two current members on the Supreme Court who were former prosecutors, to set a precedent with their upcoming decision. If the Supreme Court is too lenient with this case, we could see much more misconduct go unpunished and the guarantee of a fair-trial be eviscerated. It is simply unacceptable.