Partially Informed Juries Convict the Innocent: New at Reason

Early in the evening on October 1, 1984, Catherine Fuller, a 48-year-old mother of six, was robbed, sodomized with a foreign object, and beaten to death in a garage off an alley in Washington, D.C. After police concluded that Fuller had been attacked by a group of young men, prosecutors obtained two guilty pleas and eight convictions. Today the Supreme Court will hear an appeal by seven of those men, who argue that prosecutors violated their right to due process by withholding evidence that would have cast doubt on the government's allegations. As Jacob Sullum explains, the case shows why, more than half a century after the Court told prosecutors they have a constitutional duty to share evidence that might help defendants, prosecutors have little incentive to take that duty seriously.

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