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The Champion

April 2011 , Page 5 

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DOJ Needs Oversight to Shape Up Discovery Practices (From the President)

By Jim E. Lavine; Ellen S. Podgor

“From the President” is my regular column on a topical issue. This month I asked Professor Ellen S. Podgor, who has written extensively on prosecutorial misconduct issues at Stetson University College of Law, to co-author the column with me.

These past few weeks have been tough ones for the Department of Justice. The agency had two convictions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated due to discovery violations. In a third case from a federal district court in Maryland, the judge told DOJ to start over in its prosecution of a former pharmaceutical executive. The irony is that in the Ninth Circuit cases the government is failing to comply with constitutional mandates for discovery, and in the Maryland case the government is prosecuting someone for failing to comply with its request for information.

Two years ago, federal prosecutors were caught violating constitutional mandates that required them to share discovery with lawyers for accused U
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