Volume 36

Creating Architects of Justice: A Gift from Modern Ethics to Brady on Its 60th Anniversary

by David A. Lord

Sixty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court announced the landmark decision Brady v. Maryland, which aimed to create a fairer justice system. Those charged with crimes were promised that the government would turn over evidence favorable to the defense, ensuring that trials would be a fair contest between the two sides. But six decades later, public confdence in our court sys- tem is at an all-time low. In this article, career prosecutor and criminal proce- dure professor David A. Lord argues that the best way to honor Brady on its sixtieth anniversary is to reinvigorate exculpatory evidence jurisprudence by aligning constitutional analysis with professional ethical guidance from the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. This Article traces the historical development of Brady principles over time, including the ways they have been expanded and contracted by the Supreme Court. The Court’s decisions are then contrasted with the ethical mandates regarding exculpatory evidence that are contained in the Model Rules. The Article argues that by aligning constitutional principles with some of the professional ethical expectations of prosecutors, public confidence in the criminal justice system can be restored.


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