A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Monday that marks a victory for prosecutors’ tight-fisted discovery policy has the criminal defense bar cringing — and could prove just as perturbing to the Northern District of California trial bench.

With U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan making street gang prosecutions a high priority, the panel’s decision (.pdf) — that prosecutors may retain privacy over much of their witness information — could affect several cases and dozens of defendants, including at least four facing execution.

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