Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on Linked In Share this by Email
MCLE Self-Assessment Test

Bar holds public hearing to review changes to ethics rules on exculpatory evidence

The public is invited to speak to the State Bar of California’s Rules Revision Commission on Feb. 3 about proposed changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct regarding the special responsibilities of criminal prosecutors.

“The Rules of Professional Conduct serve as a ‘road map’ for the State Bar’s disciplinary system. They are a critically important foundation, and the work of the Rules Revision Commission is vital to the bar’s public protection mission,” Executive Director Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker said. “The State Bar is eager to hear how we can best protect the public from the wrongful convictions that can result from failure to turn over evidence favorable to the defense.”

The Rules Revision Commission will hear testimony starting at 10 a.m. on Feb. 3 at the State Bar’s Los Angeles office, 845 S. Figueroa St. The hearing will last until everyone has had an opportunity to speak or at 3 p.m., whichever occurs first. Individuals can also join the hearing by video conference from the State Bar’s San Francisco office at 180 Howard St., or by teleconference by calling 855-520-7605 and entering conference code 2535410212. For those who wish to give testimony, Director of Professional Competence Randall Difuntorum suggested speakers provide draft language for changes they would like to see to the proposal.

The commission has recommended rule amendments to address the special responsibilities of a prosecutor, including required disclosure of exculpatory evidence to the defense. Details about the proposal, which was derived in part from Model Rule 3.8 of the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, can be found on the State Bar’s public comment web page.

In addition to the public hearing, the commission is accepting written public comments about the rule amendments through Feb. 29.

The proposal is part of a commission project to recommend comprehensive revisions to the professional conduct rules that subject attorneys to State Bar discipline. The State Bar Board of Trustees, at the request of the commission, agreed to prioritize this proposal and handle it on a separate track. More information about the comprehensive rules revision project can be found on the commission’s web page.