Washington, D.C. (Jan. 17, 2018) – Earlier today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed notice of its decision not to appeal the release of an extremely limited portion of its Federal Criminal Discovery Blue Book. The portion of the Blue Book that the Court found was not work product was a tiny fraction – what amounts to not much more than a handful of pages – out of a manual that contains at least 265 pages.
The Court denied NACDL’s request for full disclosure because it found, as the government contended in this lawsuit, that virtually the entire manual is work product: strategic guidance for federal prosecutors on how to litigate against defense discovery requests. This is proof that the DOJ misled Congress in 2012 when it said that its Federal Criminal Discovery Blue Book, distributed in 2011 to every federal prosecutor and paralegal, “comprehensively covers the law, policy, and practice of prosecutors’ disclosure obligations.” The DOJ pointed to that manual in the context of explaining that “new rules are not necessary” as “[w]hat is necessary, and what the Department has been vigorously engaged in providing since the Stevens dismissal[,] is enhanced guidance, training, and supervision to ensure that the existing rules and policies are followed.”
The government’s misleading assertion that this manual solved the pervasive problems with non-disclosure of favorable evidence in criminal cases underscores the need for precisely the bipartisan legislation that was under consideration when these statements were made to the Senate committee.
“Make no mistake, NACDL will now redouble its efforts to seek a permanent legislative solution to the government’s persistent failures to comply with their statutory and constitutional discovery obligations,” said NACDL President Rick Jones. “The issue at stake here is no legal technicality. It is a vital protection for all persons accused of a crime by the U.S. government.”
NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer observed, “If the government was not candid with Congress about what is in its instruction manual for prosecutors, how likely is it that it will be forthcoming in providing favorable evidence to the people it prosecutes?”
NACDL is represented in this matter by Kerri L. Ruttenberg, a partner in the Washington, DC, office of the Jones Day law firm, as well as Yaakov M. Roth and Julia Fong Sheketoff, also of Jones Day.
You can read more about the case in previous statements, available here, here, here, here, here, and here. Additional court papers, including briefs, exhibits, among others, are available at: https://www.nacdl.org/BlueBookFOIALitigation/.
More information concerning NACDL's work in the area of discovery reform is available at www.nacdl.org/discoveryreform.
Pattern Cross-Examination for DNA and Biological Evidence: A Trial Strategy Guide
NACDL’s Pattern Cross-Examination for DNA and Biological Evidence will assist criminal defense practitioners in scoring points when cross-examining forensic experts in cases involving DNA and biological evidence. This resource contains thousands of questions that will help defense lawyers cross-examine challenging witnesses without reinventing the wheel with each new case. It includes pattern questions that can be used to dominate prosecution DNA experts and level the playing field at trial.
Cross-Examination of the Analyst in Drug Prosecutions (2nd Ed.) By James M. Shellow
Now in its second edition with some new material, James M. Shellow’s book offers what its title promises: ways of thinking about cross-examining the forensic analysts in drug cases. But the book is so much more than that. It offers a look inside the mind of one of the finest cross-examiners and defense lawyers the United States has produced in the last seventy years. This small book can inspire and direct you in making big changes in the way you defend your clients and think about the entire project of trying any case.
Justice For All, Justice Now White T-Shirt (Women’s)
This custom, vintage-faded NACDL t-shirt is 50% polyester, 25% cotton, and 25% rayon weighing 5.2 oz. and is lightwieght, flexible and soft, providing maximum comfort. It features the "Justice For All, Justice Now" slogan and Lady Liberty image on the front, with the NACDL logo on the back. Currently available in both men's and women's sizes in both black and white colors. View the full line-up of colors and sizes on our online store, as well as our other popular and best-selling t-shirt designs at: nacdl.org/store.
Drug Cases Resource Materials Collection - CD-ROM
NACDL’s Drug Cases Resource Materials Collection is the sweeping culmination of every single article of written materials ever published from each installment of NACDL's annual "Defending Modern Drug Cases" seminar. Totaling over 12,000 pages, this vast collection includes 12+ years of motions, briefs, reports, outlines, transcripts, case citations, scholarly articles, powerpoints and other written commentaries. This collection provides trial strategies and tactics you can immediately apply to your current cases.
Mental Illness & the Law: Addressing and Litigating Behavioral Health Disorders in Criminal Cases
Whether it is insanity, impairment, a disorder, or adolescent brain development; mental health and intellectual competence issues affect pretrial supervision, trial and sentencing, and your chances of successfully advocating for your impaired client. This training provides ideas and proven solutions to assist you in advocating for your client during trial, whether it be insanity defenses, jury selection, cross of expert witnesses, persuasion, or mitigation at sentencing.
Ivan J. Dominguez, NACDL Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or email@example.com for more information.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.