July 22, 2019 Top Story

Defendant’s Right to Exculpatory Evidence under Review

Due process rights at guilty plea stage in question

By Benjamin E. Long

A man who pleaded guilty to assaulting a corrections officer prior to learning of video evidence absolving him of the crime has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reevaluate the scope of a criminal defendant’s due process rights prior to trial.

The alleged assailant of a corrections officer learned of video evidence absolving him of the crime

The alleged assailant of a corrections officer learned of video evidence absolving him of the crime

iStockphoto by Getty Images

The defendant in Alvarez v. The City of Brownsville has petitioned for a writ of certiorari to review an opinion concluding that criminal defendants do not necessarily have a constitutional right to exculpatory evidence before they enter a guilty plea. ABA Section of Litigation leaders recognize a circuit split on this issue and cite the need for the Court to weigh in.

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