Pennsylvania Sen. Stewart J. Greenleaf, R-Bucks, is calling for a resolution to urge the state Supreme Court to make changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct and Rules of Criminal Procedure regarding prosecutors’ duty to disclose information that could reverse a conviction.
In a memo released by Greenleaf, he stated although Brady disclosures are in practice, problems continue with prosecutors withholding evidence from the defense.
“In many cases, prosecutors make mistakes in good faith about whether information should be shared with the defense,” said Greenleaf in his memo. “Misconduct by police and prosecutors does, however, occur.”
Greenleaf wrote that his resolution would urge the state Supreme Court to adopt and enforce changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct to clarify the prosecutor’s role when they learn of “new credible” evidence that makes it “reasonably likely” that a convicted person isn’t guilty. He said his recommended rule change would clarify that prosecutors should disclose the evidence to the defendant, request the court appoint counsel for an unrepresented indigent defendant and, when appropriate, notify the court that the prosecutor has information that the defendant didn’t commit the offense they were convicted of.
He also said that his resolution would ask the Supreme Court to amend the Rules of Criminal Procedure to allow the defendant access to complete files of all law enforcement agencies, investigative agencies and prosecutors’ offices involved in the investigation of the alleged crime. Greenleaf said those files would include the defendant’s statements, statements of co-defendant’s, witness statements, investigating officers’ notes and the results of examinations and tests.
— V.H. •