The Jacob Burns Ethics Center hosted a conference on November 15-16 with leading professionals and scholars who presented their viewpoints on Brady and other disclosure obligations.

The most effective and ethical prosecutor’s office is one where the leader sets a tone of ethical behavior and hires and trains lawyers with good character who possess good judgment.  Recent high profile cases as well as wrongful convictions caused, at least in part, by government practices of failure to disclose evidence have highlighted the need for in-depth examination of systemic causes and remedies. 

This conference explored what are the best systems for information management; what kinds of training, oversight and systems of accountability are the best practices; and how we can encourage a commitment to those practices. 

The goal of the conference was the development of best practices to increase the reliability of results obtained by guilty pleas, trials and post conviction proceedings and to optimize effective training, supervision, and control mechanisms for managing information within prosecutors’ offices.


(From left) Terri Moore, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., and Prof. Ellen Yaroshefsky

Terri Moore and Barry C. Scheck

Peter Neufeld, co director, Innocence Project on left with Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

(From left) Hon. Mathias H. Heck, Jr., Gerald Lefcourt, Prof. Amy Wrzesniewski, Hon. Charles J. Hynes, and Hon. John Gleeson

Prof. Amy Wrzesniewski and Hon. Charles J. Hynes

Hon. John Chisholm and Prof. Rachel Barkow

Prof. Ellen Yaroshefsky

Hon. Charles J. Hynes at the reception

Sunday, November 15, 2009
Overview and Opening Remarks by Ellen Yaroshefsky, Director of the Jacob Burns Center for Ethics in the Practice of Law, and the Honorable Charles J. Hynes, Kings County District Attorney.

Barry C. Scheck - The Innocence Project
Reflections on Prosecution and Policing from Wrongful Convictions and Civil Rights Cases

Dr. Gordon Schiff  - Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Lessons from Risk Management of Diagnosis Errors in Medicine                                                                                           

Dr. Maria Hartwig - John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Lessons from Cognitive Scientists

Lou Reiter - Police Practices Expert
Information Management and Control in Policing       

Dr. Larry Richard - Consultant, Hildebrandt
Lessons from Risk Management in Law Firms and Corporations  

Panel Response - Moderator: Professor Ellen Yaroshefsky
Hon. Susan Gaertner 
Ramsey County Attorney, St. Paul, Minnesota 
Hon. Nancy Gertner
United States District Court, District of Massachusetts
Anthony Ricco, Esq.
Law Offices of Anthony Ricco, New York, New York
Zachary Carter, Esq.
Dorsey & Whitney LLP, New York, New York

Hon. John Chisholm - District Attorney, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Effective State Prosecution Systems

Terri Moore - First Assistant District Attorney, Conviction Integrity Unit, Dallas, Texas
Post Conviction Issues and Management Systems

Professor Rachel Barkow - Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, NYU Law School
Lessons  from Good Government Practices and Institutional Design

Professor Barry Schwartz - Swarthmore College
Professional Self Policing

Remarks – Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Manhattan District Attorney Candidate

Panel Response - Moderator: Professor Bruce A. Green
Hon. Charles J. Hynes
Kings County District Attorney, Brooklyn, New York
Hon. John Gleeson
United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
Gerald Lefcourt, Esq.
Law Offices of Gerald Lefcourt, New York, New York
Hon. Mathias H. Heck, Jr.
District Attorney for Montgomery County, Dayton, Ohio
Professor Amy Wrzesniewski
Yale School of Management, New Haven, Connecticut

Monday, Nobember 16                    
Approximately 75 invited participants split into groups of 12 people and met to discuss one of six topics as indicated below. Each group had a  representatives from state and federal prosecutors’ offices, defense lawyers, judges, academics, and social scientists as well as invited guests from the medical and corporate risk management fields.

Each group had a discussion leader and a reporter. The groups were assigned in advance of the conference and short papers  circulated to each participant by the discussion leader. They set forth the issues and alternate views along with questions to guide the discussion.  Five hours were spent in small groups, discussing the issues and trying to reach consensus about particular practices. The reporter and group leader drafted recommendations to be circulated to the entire conference. In the afternoon, each group made its presentation to the entire conference followed by discussion. 

At the conclusion of the second day, the conference generated a report that includes proposals and future plans including replicating aspects of the conference in jurisdictions around the country.  Proceedings of the conference will be published in the Cardozo Law Review.

Sponsored by:
Jacob Burns Center for Ethics in the Practice of Law, Cardozo, Law Review, Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics at Fordham Law School, Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at New York University Law School, Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association, Justice Center of the New York County Lawyers Association, National District Attorneys Association and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers