On September 18, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Alvarez v. City of Brownsville held that prosecutors are not constitutionally required to disclose exculpatory evidence to criminal defendants during the plea-bargaining process. With its decision, the Fifth Circuit entered the circuit split over the meaning of impeachment evidence in the context of the United States Supreme Court’s 2002 decision in United States v. Ruiz, where the Court held that the prosecution need not turn over impeachment evidence during the plea-bargaining process. Some circuits interpret impeachment evidence to include exculpatory evidence, whereas others had not. This Comment argues that the Supreme Court should grant certiorari in the next circuit case to clarify the definition of impeachment evidence in Ruiz. Further, this Comment argues that as things stand, Supreme Court precedent requires the disclosure of exculpatory evidence during the plea-bargaining process.
Cameron Casey, Lost Opportunity: Supreme Court Declines to Resolve Circuit Split on Brady Obligations During Plea-Bargaining, 61 B.C.L. Rev. E.Supp. II.-73 (2020), https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol61/iss9/11