If Prosecutors Unlawfully Withold Evidence From You In Your Case You May Have Grounds For A New Trial Or Even A Dismissal
There are many instances in which prosecutors engage in the unethical practice of law. One common unethical practice prosecutors engage in is the withholding of evidence that is favorable to the defense in criminal cases. In such cases, prosecutors face the possibility of being disbarred from the practice of law. One district attorney from the Santa Clara County is currently facing this possibility.
Deputy District Attorney Troy A. Benson of Santa Clara County is currently on trial for allegedly withholding a videotape favorable to defendant Augustine Uribe and attempting to cover it up. Eventually, Uribe’s conviction was reversed. Counsel for the California State Bar, Manuel Jimenez, claims that Benson knew or should have known about a videotape taken of a young sexual assault victim’s medical examination.
Under California’s Rules of Professional Conduct, prosecutors have an affirmative duty to disclose all evidence relevant to the case, including evidence that would exculpate the defendant. Under the Rules of Professional Conduct, the prosecutor’s duty is not to win cases, but to uphold justice.
Benson claims he only discovered the videotape after the trial, in which he immediately informed Alfonso O. Lopez, the defense counsel in the case. Benson also claims that he held a conversation with the presiding judge, Paul Bernal, in which the judge acknowledged that Benson found the tape first.
In addition, Lopez’s account of the events differs from Benson. Lopez claims that he independently found out about the videotape after the trial and that he told Benson that he had filed for a new trial.
The case exposed a long practice by district attorneys in the Santa Clara County of videotaping the medical examinations of victims and not disclosing them to the defense. With the reversal of Uribe’s conviction, 15 habeas corpus petitions have been filed on behalf of individuals who may have been wrongly convicted due to withheld evidence.
If you have been involved in a criminal case in which evidence was withheld by prosecutors, you may have grounds for a new trial or even a dismissal. You should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney from Wallin & Klarich by calling 888-749-0034. The law firm of Wallin and Klarich is prepared to answer your legal questions and is immediately available to assist you with your case. With offices throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange Counties, we are able to be there for you wherever you happen to live.