The Nevada legislature passed two laws last week designed to counter prosecutorial misconduct – or at least give some defendants the ability to undo suspect plea agreements. Unfortunately, one was substantially gutted under pressure from prosecutors and police.
The bill that passed after being substantially watered down was AB376. If passed as originally drafted, it could have exacted penalties for the misconduct like withholding evidence, requiring prosecutors to share evidence with the defense 30 days prior to trial or risk exclusion, broadening the scope of favorable evidence they are required to share and mandating that courts dismiss charges when prosecutors showed bad faith in failing to turn evidence over. After objections from prosecutors and police, all that survived was a requirement that prosecutors press charges within 72 hours against defendants in custody.
Another bill allowing certain defendants to undo plea agreements, supported by prosecutors, also passed and was signed into law by the governor.