California prosecutors who deliberately withhold evidence from defense attorneys may face harsher punishment under a new law passed after a wave of misconduct scandals.
The law, authored by state Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D) and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) over the weekend, bolsters a judge's ability to boot a prosecutor who withholds evidence from a case. Additionally, if other employees of the prosecuting attorney's office participated or sanctioned the suppression of evidence, the court is authorized to eject the entire office. The law requires the court to report violations to the state bar, which licenses attorneys.
"The bill seems like a step in the right direction," Alex Kozinski, former chief judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, told The Huffington Post. "It seems to give a great deal of discretion to trial judges, so its effectiveness will depend on the degree to which those judges are willing to exercise that authority."
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