Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Federal Judge Condemns "Epidemic" of Prosecutors Withholding Evidence

Child Abuse Defense News by David S. Marshall
January 15, 2014

New developments in law, medicine, and psychology affecting child abuse cases. For additional news and information, visit

Federal Judge Condemns "Epidemic" of Prosecutors Withholding Evidence

The chief judge of a federal court of appeals has denounced "an epidemic of Brady violations abroad in the land." The judge, Alex Kozinski, wrote on the subject in his dissent in United States v. Kenneth R. Olsen, Docket Nos. 10-36063 and 10-36064, issued December 10, 2013 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Four other judges of the court joined his dissent.

The Brady rule, named for a Supreme Court case decided in 1963, requires prosecutors to disclose to criminal defendants all material exculpatory evidence—evidence that could lead to their acquittal at trial.

Arnold Melnikoff was a Washington State Police forensic scientist whose laboratory tests helped convict Olsen of knowingly developing a biological agent for use as a weapon. Unknown to Olsen or his attorney, Melnikoff had been investigated by the state patrol and found to have done sloppy and incompetent lab work in many cases. The first episode that came to light was Melnikoff's faulty hair sample analysis that resulted in the wrongful conviction of a man for raping an 8-year-old girl; the man was exonerated by DNA analysis only after 15 years in prison.

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