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In a new column in The Atlantic, contributing editor Andrew Cohen writes about the 50th anniversary of the "Brady" Rule, in which the Supreme Court unanimously declared that prosecutors have a constitutional obligation to share exculpatory evidence with criminal defendants. Cohen highlights the case of John Thompson, who was wrongfully convicted of murder and sent to death row in Louisiana. While facing his seventh execution date, a private investigator hired by his appellate attorneys discovered evidence of Thompson's innocence that had been concealed for more than a decade by the New Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office.
A rare example of being held accountable for a Brady violation occurred last month in Texas, when a court ruled that former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson will face criminal contempt and tampering charges for failing to turn over evidence pointing to the innocence of Michael Morton, who was later exonerated by DNA evidence after serving 25 years for his wife's murder, despite a court order and legal obligation to do so.