“While Rule 14 envisions a broad disclosure requirement for exculpatory facts, the rule explicitly identifies only a few specific categories of potentially exculpatory information that a prosecutor must disclose,” Justice Frank M. Gaziano wrote for the court.
The SJC has asked the advisory committee to draft a proposed “Brady checklist” an allusion to Brady v. Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court’s seminal decision in 1963 on prosecutors’ duties of disclosure that would more clearly define “exculpatory evidence,” providing prosecutors with more detailed guidance.
Northampton defense attorney Luke Ryan, whose persistence in pursuing Farak’s mental health records helped unlock the full scope of her misconduct, agreed.
“My hope is [the SJC’s decision] will result in far fewer Brady violations, at least in this jurisdiction,” he said. “I hope prosecutors in other jurisdictions read the decision and are reminded they can’t be hiding the ball when there are lives on the line.”