In criminal cases throughout the country, the prosecution bears the burden of proving that the defendant committed the charged offense. Thus, the prosecution will typically conduct an investigation and engage in discovery to obtain any evidence that would imply or prove the defendant’s guilt. If the prosecution uncovers evidence that would exonerate the defendant, however, it must produce that as well. Unfortunately, the prosecution does not always comply with the rules, as demonstrated recently in Scottsdale, Arizona, where a prosecutor alleged he was fired for uncovering mishandling of evidence in numerous DUI cases that were handled by the prior prosecutor. If you live in Illinois and are charged with DUI, it is critical to retain an experienced Illinois DUI defense attorney who will fight to uncover any evidence in your defense.
Alleged Prosecutorial Misconduct in Scottsdale DUI Cases
It is reported that the recent termination of a Scottsdale, Arizona prosecutor lead to the disclosure of allegations that a prior prosecutor improperly handled DUI cases. The prosecutor received a letter notifying him that he had been terminated due to the city’s loss of confidence and trust in the prosecutor’s ability to fulfill the duties and expectations of his position. The city claims that an investigation was conducted into the prosecutor’s work performance by an independent entity and that it did not have the final report.
Reportedly, the prosecutor maintains, however, that he was fired for blowing the whistle on the city’s misconduct. Specifically, after hearing from an assistant prosecutor that the city previously failed to disclose evidence that was favorable to defendants in DUI cases, the prosecutor ordered an audit of all DUI cases prosecuted in the past five years. One of the claims alleged that a prosecutor failed to share evidence that a blood test revealed no drugs or alcohol in a defendant’s system after a defendant refused to submit to a breath test. The prosecutor noted that as sentences for DUI convictions increase when a defendant has prior offenses, failing to produce evidence that may exonerate a defendant may impact the defendant’s rights in the future as well.
Brady Violations and Illinois Law
Pursuant to the ruling set forth by the United States Supreme Court in Brady v. Maryland, under both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, a prosecutor has a duty to produce evidence that is favorable to a defendant upon request, if the evidence is relevant to the issue of the defendant’s guilt or to assessing a punishment. Thus, when an Illinois prosecutor in a DUI case or any other criminal case fails to produce evidence that could exonerate the defendant, it may constitute a Brady violation, which is the term used for prosecutorial misconduct in violation of the Brady ruling.
Discuss Your Charges with a Skillful Illinois Attorney
If you are accused of a DUI offense in Illinois, it is prudent to meet with an Illinois DUI defense attorney to discuss your case and your potential defenses. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a skillful attorney who will aggressively pursue the best outcome available under the facts of your case. Mr. Harvatin can be contacted through the form online or by calling 217.525.0520 to set up a conference.