New Ethical Rule on Prosecutorial Misconduct Considered in California

CA State Bar Rules Commission, in a split vote, approves new rule on prosecutorial misconduct for expedited adoption

October 26, 2015

On Friday, October 24, 2015, at the request of criminal defense attorneys and advocacy groups from around the state, the Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct for the State Bar of California adopted a new ethical rule for prosecutors to be considered for expedited adoption.  The new rule is based upon a model regulation promulgated by the American Bar Association which specifies the ethical obligation of prosecutors to turn over evidence; this rule is used by every other state.

“Earlier this year, CACJ and The Innocence Project reached out to the State Bar and the California Supreme Court to initiate expedited consideration of ABA Rule 3.8 in California,” Jeff Thoma President of the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), a statewide association of defense attorneys. “Today, California has taken the first step in making it clear that misconduct by prosecutors will not be tolerated.”78518-full

CACJ joined with the California Public Defenders Association, The Innocence Project and other advocates to call for adoption of the rule. Today’s commission vote is the first step in getting this rule adopted in California; the rule now goes to the Board for approval to be distributed for a public comment period and considered for expedited adoption in 2016.

“This is a victory for the pursuit of justice over winning at all costs.  Our public servants must abide by the highest ethical standards and this rule will provide some accountability,” added Thoma.

CACJ also sponsored legislation (AB 1328), which was recently signed into law, to require judges to report misbehaving prosecutors to the State Bar.

Visit The State Bar of California website for today’s agenda and more information: