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A prosecutor's obligation to reveal evidence

People in Massachusetts may not be aware of a law regarding criminal cases that is sometimes known as the Brady rule. According to this rule, a prosecutor must inform the defense if evidence is discovered that is favorable and material to the defense's case. However, many prosecutors fail to do this. They often claim that they were unaware or they did not think the evidence was important.

For example, a man was convicted of robbery, but several months later, a prosecutor working on an appeal found a mug shot of him in the previous prosecutor's file. It was taken two days before the robbery and showed that the defendant's hair was short. However, the robbery had allegedly been committed by a man with dreadlocks.

The defendant's attorney asked for a new trial and the request was granted even though the prosecutor tried to argue that the man might have worn a wig. Under the Brady rule, the evidence does not have to prove a person's innocence in order to be material and favorable.

When facing criminal charges, it may be wise retain counsel. An attorney might look at areas where a client' rights may have been violated. Such violations can lead to the dismissal of evidence or even an entire case. A person might also want to plead not guilty. They might be an associate of someone who committed a crime, but they might not be involved. An eyewitness account may be wrong or evidence may have been contaminated. Another option might be a plea bargain.

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Anthony M. Salerno, P.C.
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Worcester, MA 01608

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