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19 New Eng. J. on Crim. & Civ. Confinement 103 (1993)
Conviction and Imprisonment Despite Nondisclosure of Evidence Favorable to the Accused by the Prosecution: Standard of Materiality Reconsidered

handle is hein.journals/nejccc19 and id is 107 raw text is: NOTE

Conviction and Imprisonment Despite
Nondisclosure of Evidence Favorable to the
Accused by the Prosecution: Standard of
Materiality Reconsidered
The purpose of a trial is as much the acquittal of an innocent
person as it is the conviction of a guilty one.
I. INTRODUCTION
One of the most basic and fundamental rights protected by the
United States Constitution is the criminal defendant's right to a fair
trial.2 The Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amend-
ments require . . . that [government] action, whether through one
agency or another, shall be consistent with the fundamental principles
of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all our political institu-
tions and not infrequently are designated as 'law of the land.' I The
1. Application of Kapatos, 208 F. Supp. 883, 888 (1962).
2. The criminal defendant's right to a fair trial is mandated by the Due Process Clause of
the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. U.S. CONST. amend. V.
[C]onstruction of [the Due Process] Clause will apply equally to the comparable clause in
the Fourteenth Amendment applicable to trials in state courts. United States v. Agurs,
427 U.S. 97, 107 (1976).
3. Hebert v. Louisiana, 272 U.S. 312, 316-17 (1926). See also Dartmouth College v.
Woodward, 17 US. (4 Wheat.) 518, 581 (1819) in which the Supreme Court stated:
By the law of the land is most intended the general law; a law, which hears
before it condemns; which proceeds upon inquiry, and renders judgment only
after trial. The meaning is, that every citizen shall hold his life, liberty,
property, and immunities, under the protection of the general rules which
govern society.
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime,

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