More than 40 years have passed since Justice William O. Douglas wrote the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion in Brady v. Maryland, which held that a defendant's due process rights preclude a prosecutor from suppressing material evidence favorable to the defendant. Since then, the so-called "Brady Rule" has shaped the boundaries of a defendant's right to a fair trial and defined the standards of the criminal justice system.
A symposium sponsored by the Case Western Reserve Law Review will explore the role of the Brady Rule in various elements of a criminal case, including plea negotiations, scientific evidence, capital sentencing, prosecutorial conduct and even how to deal with jailhouse snitches. "Prosecutorial Ethics and the Right to a Fair Trial: The Role of the Brady Rule in the Modern Criminal Justice System" will be held Friday, January 26, at 9 a.m. in the law school's Moot Courtroom (room A59), 11075 East Boulevard.
During the free daylong symposium, several of the country's leading experts on prosecutorial ethics will examine the issues critical to maintaining each citizen's right to a fair and just trial.
Barry Scheck, professor of law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City and co-director of the Innocence Project, will be keynote speaker. At Cardozo for 27 years, Scheck has litigated many significant civil rights and criminal defense cases.
For the past 14 years, Scheck and fellow law professor Peter J. Neufeld have run the Innocence Project, an independent, nonprofit organization affiliated with the Cardozo School of Law. The Innocence Project has won wide recognition for using DNA evidence to exonerate the wrongly convicted. The Innocence Project also assists police, prosecutors and defense attorneys in trying to bring about reform in many areas of the criminal justice system, including eyewitness identification procedures, interrogation methods, crime laboratory administration and forensic science research. To date, the Innocence Project has helped to exonerate 189 wrongly convicted individuals in the U.S.
"We're very fortunate to have such a distinguished panel of experts to discuss this important topic," said Jonathan Entin, associate dean for academic affairs and faculty adviser to the Case Western Reserve Law Review. "Professor Scheck's tireless work as founder and co-director of the Innocence Project has made him a leader in the burgeoning 'civil rights' movement to identify and address the systemic causes of wrongful convictions."
Scheck and Neufeld, along with New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Jim Dwyer, co-authored Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution, and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Convicted, in February 2000.
Among the speakers joining Scheck will be Professor Alafair S. Burke, Hofstra University School of Law; Professor John G. Douglass, University of Richmond (Va.) School of Law; Professor Bennett L. Gershman, Pace University School of Law; Professor Peter A. Joy, Washington University School of Law; and Case Western Reserve University School of Law professors Paul Giannelli—the Albert J. Weatherhead III and Richard W. Weatherhead Professor and one of the country's foremost authorities on the use of scientific evidence in criminal trials—and Kevin McMunigal, Judge Ben C. Green Professor of Law.
For more information on the symposium, including a detailed agenda and online registration, visit the law school's web site, http://law.case.edu/lectures or call (216) 368-6619. The symposium will also be webcast live at http://law.case.edu/lectures. Five hours of CLE credit are available for a fee to lawyers who attend in person. Space is limited; registration for this symposium will close on January 19, 2007. After January 19, please call to see if there is space.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.