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US v. Prochilo, 09-1450

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By FindLaw Staff on January 13, 2011 4:26 PM

District court's exclusion of cooperating witnesses from testifying for Brady violations

US v. Prochilo, 09-1450, concerned a challenge to the district court's orders excluding cooperating witnesses from testifying at trial in concluding that the government had failed to meet its disclosure obligations under Brady v. Maryland, in interlocutory appeals in two unrelated criminal cases.

In reversing, vacating and remanding the cases, the court first held that, with respect to the case involving an indictment of defendant for being a felon in possession of a firearm, the district court's approach shifted from the government to the defendant the primary authority to assess whether material in the government's possession must be disclosed, and in so doing endorsed a broad rule of discovery in criminal cases, and Brady permits neither.  With respect to the case involving cocaine related charges, the court held that the district court erred both in its disclosure ruling and to the extent that it agreed to conduct an in camera review of certain cooperator-related materials.

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