Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced new policies Tuesday on how prosecutors must disclose evidence favorable to defendants facing criminal charges, reports the city’s Daily News. The policies, issued in response to a civil rights lawsuit by the ACLU, clarify how prosecutors must abide by a half-century-old U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding exculpatory evidence. Lacey said the changes ensure that prosecutors “play fair in seeking justice.”
The ACLU lawsuit, filed in July on behalf of criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Douglas, accused Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca and his department of concealing evidence of deputy assaults on jail detainees from criminal defense attorneys. The suit also challenged a policy adopted by former District Attorney Steve Cooley that allegedly prevented — and in some cases explicitly prohibited — prosecutors from disclosing evidence of police officer misconduct.