District Court Case on Brady Obligations and Uncertain Legal Duty

District Court Case on Brady Obligations and Uncertain Legal Duty

The name of this case initially attracted me. United States v. Townsend, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70656 [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers] (ED WA 2014), here. It turns out the defendant is no relation to me. But the case proved to have some interesting facets. The first is just an interesting recitation of the Government's Brady obligations. The second is a more interesting application of the James holding that uncertain legal obligation cannot form the basis for a criminal prosecution.

The defendant was indicted under, [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers], Section 7202, here, for failing to withhold and pay over on employee's compensation.

Now the issues I report in this blog:

1. Brady

Brady v. Maryland held "that the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution." 373 U.S. at 87, [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers]. In United States v. Bagley, 473 U.S. 667 (1985), [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers], the Supreme Court disavowed any difference between exculpatory and impeachment evidence for Brady purposes. Despite the Government's argument to the contrary, Bagley also held that regardless of request, favorable evidence is material, and constitutional error results from its suppression by the government, "if there is a reasonable probability that, had the evidence been disclosed to the defense, the result of the proceeding would have been different." 473 U.S. at 682 (it abandoned the distinction between the "specific-request" and "general — or no-request" situations).

View Jack Townsend's opinion in its entirety on the Federal Tax Crimes blog site.

For additional insight, explore Tax Crimes, authored by Jack Townsend and available at the LexisNexis® Store


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