October 2, 2016
I briefly met Patty Lopez in North Hollywood in 2014 when she was running for office. During the momentary introduction, I emphasized the need for criminal justice reform and she gave me “that” look. The knowing look of someone who needs no further explanation or prompting to take action.
I would follow up our introduction with a full-throated expository detailing my own tribulations as a criminal defense attorney here in Los Angeles and the troubling Special Directives that had issued by our then elected District Attorney coaching his deputies on how to hide evidence in violation of the landmark case, Brady v. Maryland. I also provided her office news clippings, including a recent Los Angeles Times article discussing the travesty of Obie Anthony who had been wrongfully convicted and put in jail for seventeen years by an errant Los Angeles prosecutor who hid evidence during Anthony’s trial. And for good measure, I added that the prosecutor had suffered no punishment for effectively murdering a falsely accused man.
AB 1909 was written and introduced by my local Assemblywoman and I am proud of her. On Friday, September 30, Governor Brown signed the bill into law. This new law makes it a felony for prosecutors to intentionally and wrongfully withhold relevant evidence that would affect the outcome of a criminal matter. It’s about time that we start chipping away at the centuries old custom of providing our prosecutors absolute immunity and inject some accountability and oversight.