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When Does AG Have Duty to Disclose Brady Material During Habeas Proceedings

Case Name: In re Jenkins (2023) ___ Cal.5th ___
Case #: S267391/B301638
Last Updated: March 27, 2023

When a habeas petitioner claims not to have received a fair trial because the district attorney failed to disclose material evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83–and when the Attorney General has knowledge of, or is in actual or constructive possession of, such evidence–what duty, if any, does the Attorney General have to acknowledge or disclose that evidence to the petitioner? Would any such duty be triggered only upon issuance of an order to show cause?

Held:

“We conclude that the Attorney General has both a constitutional and an ethical duty to disclose evidence in response to a petition for writ of habeas corpus alleging a Brady violation under certain specified circumstances. In addition, we conclude that the respondent to such a petition has a duty to disclose evidence forming the basis of the Brady claim under circumstances that we describe. We explain how these duties may be performed when, as in this case, the evidence forming the basis of the Brady claim in a petition for writ of habeas corpus is subject to statutory disclosure restrictions. Finally, we apply these conclusions in Jenkins’s case and reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeal and remand the matter to that court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.” (Opinion by Guerrero, C.J.)

This case was decided on 3/27/2023.

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