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Due Process Protections Act

Floor Speech

Date: Sept. 21, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of S. 1380, the Due Process Protections Act.

This is a commonsense, bipartisan bill that will reinforce constitutional protections for criminal defendants.

This bill amends the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to require a judge to issue a Brady order, reminding prosecutors of their obligation to disclose all evidence that is material to the case, especially exculpatory evidence.

Although some judges already have a practice of issuing Brady orders, this bill will require all judges to issue it in all criminal proceedings.

Our criminal justice system falls short when key evidence is withheld by prosecutors and revealed years later at a conviction. Due process is a fundamental right of all Americans; so is the right to a fair trial, protected by the Constitution and this bill helps guarantee that fundamental right.

I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.

Ms. JACKSON LEE.

I thank my friend and colleague from North Dakota for his leadership.

I thank, again, the chairman and ranking member of the full committee and our subcommittee chairpersons and ranking members.

Mr. Speaker, let me just say that, as I indicated, it is with an enormous sense of pride and recognition and a breath of fresh air when we talk about the Constitution in this hallowed place, because this House and the other body are grounded in our appreciation and adherence to the Constitution.

That is what this bill is: due process protections and dealing with the Bill of Rights, and the right to due process that we find in the 14th Amendment and the Fifth Amendment. So I am delighted that the Due Process Protections Act is now recognized, and it is a commonsense, bipartisan measure.

How much better we will be when all of the judicial districts require exculpatory evidence to be presented, because then you know that you have given all parties their fair chance, and someone who might lose their liberty, you give them a fair chance by putting forward all of the evidence that may be exculpatory.

So it is narrowly tailored to ensure that Federal prosecutors simply follow the law, as they already should, in every case.

I strongly urge my colleagues to support this breath of fresh air in the recounting of the Constitution, a document that continues to live in 2020 so that it will become law and order.

Again, I ask my colleagues to support this legislation, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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