The high court of Massachusetts granted a new trial to a man convicted of felony murder 36 years ago, ruling that in 1986 the state failed to turn over “exculpatory evidence” in the form of a prosecutor’s field notes and memo that, among other things, revealed the name and possible location of a key witness who never testified.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that Joseph Pope, a man convicted of first-degree felony murder in 1986, will get a new trial because the state’s “nondisclosure” of then-Assistant District Attorney Robert Goodale’s notes and memo “constituted a violation of its Brady obligation to disclose all exculpatory evidence and prejudiced the defendant,” referring to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1963 Brady v. Maryland decision that underpins the constitutional duty of prosecutors to disclose evidence helpful to those charged with crimes.
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