“Justice is the search for the truth. Sen. Murkowski’s bill would allow crucial evidence to see the light of day,” said ABA President Laurel Bellows.
In the U.S. criminal justice system, the government often has control over the defense’s ability to obtain the evidence it needs to try its case. While the government is required to assess whether evidence is favorable to a defendant in a criminal trial and to disclose that information to the defense, the legislation is designed to provide guidance to prosecutors.
Murkowski’s support of the Fairness in Disclosure of Evidence Act is an important step toward achieving consistency and improving fairness in the federal criminal justice system, proponents say.
“When you look at the statues and depictions of Lady Justice, she is blindfolded to show objectivity and the scales she holds are level to show both sides getting an even chance,” Murkowski said. “That should not just be the ideal we aspire to, that should be the standard requirement for everyone who walks into a courtroom to abide by. I appreciate the American Bar Association joining me to fight against these threats to the legitimacy of our justice system.”
Murkowski will receive one of six ABA Congressional Justice Awards that will be given as part of the association’s annual effort to connect policymakers with constituents in the legal profession. ABA Day 2013 brings distinguished lawyers from 50 states to Washington, D.C., to discuss issues such as funding for the Legal Services Corporation and federal judicial vacancies. Other recipients of the 2013 ABA Congressional Justice Award include Sen. Mike Crapo (D-Idaho), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.