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Prosecutorial Ethics and the Right to a Fair Trial: The Role of the Brady Rule (Session 3)

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Published on Oct 19, 2009

January 26, 2007
Speaker: Barry Scheck, Director, Innocence Project
Presented by: the Case Western Reserve Law Review

Summary: The Law Review Symposium: The Innocence Project in the Criminal Justice System

Barry Scheck, is a Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City, where he has served for more than twenty-seven years, and is the Co-Director of the Innocence Project. He is Emeritus Director of Clinical Education, Co-Director of the Trial Advocacy Programs, and the Jacob Burns Center for the Study of Law and Ethics. Prof. Scheck received his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1971 and his J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley in 1974. He worked for three years as a staff attorney at The Legal Aid Society in New York City before joining the faculty at Cardozo.

Prof. Scheck has done extensive trial and appellate litigation in significant civil rights and criminal defense cases. He has published extensively in these areas, including a book with Jim Dwyer and Peter Neufeld entitled, Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong And How To Make It Right. He has served in prominent positions in many bar associations, including the presidency of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Since 1994 he has been a Commissioner on New York State's Forensic Science Review Board, a body that regulates all crime and forensic DNA laboratories in the state. From 1998 - 2000, he served on the National Institute of Justice's Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence.

For the past fourteen years, Scheck and Neufeld have run the Innocence Project, now an independent non-profit, affiliated with Cardozo Law School, which uses DNA evidence to exonerate the wrongly convicted. The Project also assists police, prosecutors, and defense attorneys in trying to bring about reform in many areas of the criminal justice system, including eyewitness identification procedures, interrogation methods, crime laboratory administration, and forensic science research. To date, 189 individuals have been exonerated in the United States through post-conviction DNA testing since 1989. You can read about each of these cases at the Innocence Project website.

In Brady v. Maryland (1963), the United States Supreme Court held that a defendant's due process rights preclude a prosecutor from suppressing material evidence favorable to the defendant. Since the Court's ruling, the Brady rule has shaped the boundaries of a defendant's right to a fair trial and defined the standards of justice in the criminal system. The Case Western Reserve Law Review Symposium will explore the role of the Brady rule in various elements of a criminal case, including plea negotiations, scientific evidence and capital sentencing. Participants will also discuss the Brady rule's impact on prosecutorial ethics in the current justice system. Please join us as many of the country's leading experts examine the issues that are critical for maintaining each citizen's right to a fair and just trial.

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