No Surprise in Connick v. Thompson Ruling

This morning, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its ruling in Connick v. Thompson, 09-571. In that case, a defendant sued the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office after he was very nearly executed by the State of Louisiana because the District Attorney’s office violated its Brady obligation to turn over a lab report showing that the defendant’s blood type did not match that found at the incident scene. Put simply: the DA screwed up and nearly killed a man for the sake of a win.

Yet today, the Court overturned a ruling for Thompson and held that District Attorneys don’t have a duty to train their staff on the requirements of Brady obligations. Disappointing but not surprising. Less surprising is the composition of the majority (Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, and Alito).

But hey, thank God that we don’t have to worry about keeping prosecutors accountable or making sure new attorneys fully understand the implications of Brady, right? I mean, what a relief that it’ll be easier to trample on defendants’ constitutional protections. I could go on but I don’t want to exhaust all of my sarcasm reserve.

Meanwhile, I’m sure Nancy Grace is off somewhere jumping up and down while shouting something about a triumph for “victims rights” as if there is such a thing.

-Zachary Cloud

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