Source: New York City Bar: Prosecutors’ Duty to Disclose Held Broader Than Brady Standard | Legal Ethics in Motion
According to a recent opinion from the New York City Bar’s Ethics Committee, a prosecutor’s ethical obligation to disclose evidence favorable to a defendant is broader than the constitutional minimums imposed by the Supreme Court in Brady v. Maryland.
Under the holding in Brady, prosecutors are only required to provide the defense with exculpatory evidence that is “material either to guilt or to punishment.” The materiality standard in Brady has been the subject of great criticism, prompting a divide on the issue of whether the lawyer conduct rule governing prosecutors’ disclosure contradicts federal constitutional standards.
New York City Bar’s Ethics Committee concluded that New York Rule of Professional Conduct 3.8(b)requires a prosecutor to turn over to the defense any exculpatory evidence regardless of whether the prosecutor believes it is “material.” Opinion 2016-3 reaffirms the position taken by the ABA in 2009, which advised that the ethical obligations imposed by Rule 3.8 are more demanding than the standard in Brady, because Rule 3.8 requires disclosure of any evidence or information favorable to the defense regardless of the prosecutor’s assessment of the impact on a trial’s outcome. The New York opinion also notes that under Rule 3.8 favorable information must be provided to the defense “as soon as reasonably practicable,”regardless of the timing requirements of other substantive law.
The New York City opinion can be read here.
Source: Slandering Heroes – China’s Supreme People’s Court Cites Precedents
In China there are civil consequences of defaming even deceased “heroes”: persons of high reputation. But the consequences may be more than civil liability. Beijing attorney Pu Zhiqiang since the Tian An Men 1989 protests has defended dissenters and provoked controversy on “sensitive” matters. He was charged and convicted last year of “picking quarrels” via his posts on WeiBo – a public internet platform like Google + widely used in China. But according to China Real Time Report the charges included Pu’s arrest for maligning the revered Lei Feng.
Source: Litigation Funders Planning a New Role: Law Firm Ownership | Law.com
by Roy Strom
Finance has a long history of creative expansion. Financing lawsuits is proving to be no exception.
Since litigation finance hit the scene just a couple decades ago, the business has evolved from investing in single lawsuits to groups of claims to purchasing judgments at bankruptcy auctions, as Chicago-based Gerchen Keller Capital did earlier this year.
Now, some litigation finance firms are preparing for an even bigger change to their business model: Injecting cash directly into law firms in the form of an equity stake that isn’t tied to any specific case. Litigation funders Burford Capital and Woodsford Litigation Funding told Law.com they intend to invest in U.K.-based firms that are allowed to have nonlawyer owners, something that remains against professional ethics in the United States….
Source: Jack Greenberg, Civil Rights Champion, Dies at 91 – The New York Times
Jack Greenberg, a lawyer who became one of the nation’s most effective champions of the civil rights struggle, leading the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. for 23 years and using the law as a weapon in its fight for racial justice before the United States Supreme Court, died on Wednesday at his home in Manhattan. He was 91.
Mr. Greenberg was the last surviving member of a legendary civil rights legal team assembled by Thurgood Marshall, the founding director-counsel of the legal defense fund and later the first African-American Supreme Court justice.