More from King Hercules

Back when I was a Magistrate Judge between 1987 and 1992, many federal prosecutors followed an “open file” policy. That is, the defense lawyer got access to the complete investigative file–everything the prosecutor had–except for legal research and the prosecutor’s outgoing correspondence. The defense lawyer was able to copy whatever the lawyer wanted. That seems sensible to me. Indeed, I would be inclined to change the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to require prosecutors to open their investigative files. Oh, sure, there are problems with witness intimidation or retaliation in prison and that sort of stuff. But, those problems can be dealt with. More importantly, I want snitches scared–fear serves as an antidote to lies and exaggeration (think drug quantity, for example).

So, if I were the King (and I should be), prosecutors would be required to show their investigative files to defense lawyers and allow those lawyers to copy whatever they wanted. A rule requiring complete transparency would go along away to disinfecting the germs that Chief Judge K. sees as the genesis of the plague. But, what the hell do I know?

My take on Brady violations in federal court

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