Understanding the Significance & Complexity of the Brady Rule


  • Prisha Mehta Centennial High School
  • Ryne Sandel Mentor, Whalen Law Office




Brady violations, Brady rule, Criminal law, Criminal defense, Prosecutors, Prosecutorial misconduct


My independent study final product is a means of demonstrating the importance and complexity of evidentiary disclosure in the American criminal justice system. To accomplish this, I designed an experiment to evaluate the impact of Brady violations on the outcome of a criminal trial or plea negotiation. The experiment involved presenting two different versions of a fictional criminal case to forty-four volunteer participants, who were randomly organized into two even groups: Group A and Group B. Version A of the case included the totality of the evidence collected during the discovery phase of the case while Version B of the case omitted a single piece of “exculpatory” evidence to produce the effect of a Brady violation. After reading the given facts, participants in both groups A and B were asked to answer questions regarding the defendant’s culpability and the wisest course of legal action. Participants were given a specified period between three weeks and three days to review the facts and submit their answers to the experimental questions. The results of this experiment and my supporting research on federal and state disclosure regimes show that the “materiality” clause in the Brady Rule subjects prosecutors to highly subjective and vague criteria that 1) can easily be exploited by prosecutors with malicious intents and 2) increase the risk of unintended Brady violations by good-meaning prosecutors.


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References or Bibliography

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How to Cite

Mehta, P., & Sandel , R. (2021). Understanding the Significance & Complexity of the Brady Rule. Journal of Student Research, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsrhs.v10i3.1595



HS Research Articles