Volume 95 - No. 4 Minnesota Law Review

Note, Hold Fast the Keys to the Kingdom: Federal Administrative Agencies and the Need for Brady Disclosure

Due process protections for defendants vary greatly between the numerous federal agencies vested with civil enforcement powers. Many of these agencies fail to provide defendants with basic safeguards, including the protections available in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. As federal administrative agencies continue to increase both the scope of their enforcement authority and the penalties they assess, such due process deficiencies become even more apparent. This state of affairs is surprising considering the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Brady v. Maryland, in which it held that the Fifth Amendment binds government prosecutors with a duty to disclose material, exculpatory evidence to a defendant. This duty derives from the Court’s axiom that a government prosecutor must seek justice, not victory, in the courtroom—an axiom that logically extends to civil enforcement actions.

To rectify this due process deficiency, the Note argues that the Brady precedent should apply to all federal administrative agencies’ formal adjudications. The few federal agencies that have adopted the Brady rule for this purpose have employed it successfully and can serve as a model for other federal agencies. Additionally, defendants facing these agencies receive due process protections that are more comparable with Article III civil and criminal defendants than those defendants before agencies that reject Brady.

:: View PDF

De Novo

  • Dan’s Flaw

    DAN’S [F]LAW: STATUTORY FAILURE TO ENFORCE ETHICAL BEHAVIOR IN CLINICAL DRUG TRIALS Noah Lewellen* I. INTRODUCTION Paul, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, bursts into a lecture hall, loudly claims to see monsters sitting in the seats, and offers his services in slaying them. The police are called, and Paul is restrained and delivered […]

  • Case Comment: Bhogaita v. Altamonte

    EVERY DOG CAN HAVE HIS DAY IN COURT: THE USE OF ANIMALS AS DEMONSTRATIVE EXHIBITS Kyle R. Kroll, Volume 100, Online Managing Editor In Bhogaita v. Altamonte, the Eleventh Circuit recently decided whether to allow a dog in the courtroom as a demonstrative exhibit.[1] Although the case presented many serious issues regarding the Fair Housing […]

  • Revisiting Water Bankruptcy

    REVISITING WATER BANKRUPTCY IN CALIFORNIA’S FOURTH YEAR OF DROUGHT Olivia Moe, Volume 100, Managing Editor This spring, as “extreme” to “exceptional” drought stretched across most of California—indicating that a four-year streak of drought was not about to resolve itself[1]—Governor Jerry Brown issued an unprecedented order to reduce potable urban water usage by twenty-five percent.[2] In […]