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“[I]t may remind us of the historical inadequacies of criminal discovery in this country that, according to Justice Jackson, Soviet prosecutors at the War Crimes Trials at Nuremberg protested against adoption of American procedures on the ground that they were not fair to defendants.” —Justice Brennan

Criminal justice reform is afoot in Albany, where there are hopeful prospects for legislation that would bring change to the criminal discovery rules in New York state courts. Among other things, the bill, as currently contemplated, would require that prosecutors, within 15 days of arraignment, identify potential witnesses and provide the defense with all statements in the government’s possession made by any person who has information relevant to the charged offense. It seems that New York may finally join the growing number of states recognizing that withholding witness statements until trial is unfair, inefficient, and, in the vast majority of cases, unnecessary to protect the safety and integrity of the government’s witnesses.

This is good for justice in New York. But as regular practitioners in the federal courts, we are left to wonder: When will change come to the federal system?

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