Legislation, Model Laws, Ethics Rules & Commentary

NACDL is dedicated to securing meaningful, systematic reform and to preventing the insidious harm caused when a prosecutor carelessly, or purposefully, fails in his or her duties to us all. Prosecutorial overreaching and misconduct distort the truth-finding process and taint the credibility of the criminal justice system, including the outcomes they generate. When prosecutors’ fundamental obligations are ignored and individuals’ rights are violated in order to secure a conviction, little can be done to rectify the wrongs inflicted upon the individuals involved and on the system itself.

So long as this serious deficiency exists in the criminal justice system, NACDL will be on the frontlines seeking to ensure justice and due process for all and to promote the proper and fair administration of criminal justice. This page contains legislation, laws, regulations and other commentary related to prosecutorial misconduct.

Press Release, Office of Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Responds to Study Showing Continued Failure to Disclosure to Defense (Nov. 17, 2014)

Commentary & Advocacy Letters

Comments to the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules on proposed amendments to pretrial experts disclosure in Rule 16 (February 16, 2021)

Coalition Letter on “Ensuring that Federal Prosecutors Meet Discovery Obligations” (June 5, 2012)

NACDL Letter on the House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee Hearing on The Prosecution of Former Senator Ted Stevens (April 18, 2012)

NACDL Letter on the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Special Counsel's Report on the Prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens (March 28, 2012)

Letter from Former Judges, Prosecutors, Law Enforcement, and Others Calling on Congress to Reform Federal Criminal Discovery (March 15, 2012)

Editorial: Justice and Open Files, The New York Times, February 26, 2012.  Excerpt: "Prosecutors have a constitutional duty to disclose significant evidence favorable to a criminal defendant.  But too often that duty, as laid out by the 1963 Supreme Court decision in Brady v. Maryland, is violated." 

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Coronavirus Resources

NACDL to Focus on Service and Support for Members, Clients, and Community Throughout Virus Emergency

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Letter from U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, to the Chair of the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure, April 28, 2009

Model Legislation

NACDL Board Resolution Approving Model Open-File Legislation (May 18, 2014)

NACDL Board Resolution Approving Model Legislation To Strengthen Compliance with the Government's Duty to Disclose Favorable Information to the Accused (May 20, 2011)

NACDL Board Resolution Regarding Reform of the Hyde Amendment (February 19, 2011) and White Collar Crime Committee Report on Reform of the Hyde Amendment (November 2010)

Model Ethical Rule Order  

Federal Legislation

Bipartisan Discovery Reform Legislation Introduced in U.S. Senate (March 15, 2012)

Joint Congressional Hearing on Prosecutorial Misconduct (2007)

Existing Laws and Ethics Rules

28 U.S.C. § 530B, Ethical standards for attorneys for the Government (McDade Amendment)

28 C.F.R. § 77, Ethical standards for attorneys for the Government

28 C.F.R. § 50.2, Release of information by personnel of the Department of Justice relating to criminal and civil proceedings

ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (Table of Contents) –

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ABA Standards for Criminal Justice: Prosecution and Defense FunctionProsecution Function 

ABA Formal Opinion 09-454 – Prosecutor’s Duty to Disclose Evidence and Information Favorable to the Defense, July 8, 2009