Tennessee, DOJ Battle Over Federal Prosecutors Ethical Obligation in Discovery

An opinion published earlier this year by the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility has caused a stir in the U.S. Justice Department, setting the stage for a battle over ethics in the discovery process, The Marshall Project reports. The DOJ believes that district attorneys are duty-bound to disclose evidence that could prove a defendant’s innocence only when it’s material to the case. However, lawyer ethics panels in states, including Tennessee, have seen that standard as vague and open to interpretation by the prosecutors themselves. The new rule in Tennessee says prosecutors must hand over all evidence that is in some way favorable to a defendant, no matter if they believe it would affect the outcome or not.
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