Daily Archives: May 6, 2008

Prosecutorial sanctions: Three time’s a charm

In keeping with “Should prosecutors be held accountableweek, the 9th Circuit issued this scathing opinion, chastising two prosecutors for egregious violations:

The government egregiously failed to meet its constitutional obligations under Brady and Giglio. It failed to even make inquiry as to conviction records, plea bargains, and other discoverable materials concerning key witnesses until after trial began. It repeatedly misrepresented to the district court that all such documents had been disclosed prior to trial. The government did not admit to the court that it failed to disclose Brady/Giglio material until after many of the key witnesses had testified and been released. Even then, it failed to turn over some 650 documents until the day the district court declared a mistrial and submitted those documents to the court only after the indictment had been dismissed.

The Court concludes with:

This is prosecutorial misconduct in its highest form; conduct in flagrant disregard of the United States Constitution; and conduct which should be deterred by the strongest sanction available.

Despite that, the opinion declines to name the prosecutors in question. Fortunately, Mike at C&F is not so shy. He’s going to send a copy of the opinion to the Nevada State Bar Association. Maybe something will come of it. It should.

Can a State copyright its statutes?

Apparently, Oregon is trying. The story goes thusly: Oregon sent a cease and desist letter to Justia and Public.Resource.Org. They claimed a copyright in the “arrangement and subject matter compilation of Oregon statutory law…” Thus, Oregon is asking these sites to take down the Oregon statutes they make available for free.

Most of the correspondence is available for view here. As Justia and P.R.O point out in this letter, the Oregon website is horribly W3C non-compliant (there are over 503,000 HTML errors!), is not “section 508” compliant, doesn’t use CSS (!!!) and even has a robots.txt file that blocks search engines!

How is that “accessible to the public”? The site lacks functionality and may not be accessible by all browsers and all operating systems.

So, what if a State decides to either charge for access to its statutes or makes it publicly available on a crappy website where not all can view the pages. Do we have a legitimate notice problem? I know we are all presumed to know the law, but if the State is charging for access to the actual text of the Statutes, or makes them difficult to access, what are the chances of successfully defending a prosecution on due process grounds?

Also, what the hell is wrong with Oregon? Why, in this day and age, would you be so stubborn and so stupid? What is really the point of “protecting” the Code? I don’t understand what they’re trying to accomplish, other than look foolish.

Anyway, anyone see a potential notice problem here?

H/T: HaveOpinionWillTravel