Joseph DeMaria Weighs in on Precedent-Setting Case Involving Plea Discussions

April 23, 2014 – In The News
Daily Business Review

Joseph A. DeMaria was quoted in a Daily Business Review article published in the April 23, 2014, issue. A synopsis is noted below.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit affirmed an order requiring prosecutors to turn over documents about plea discussions with the defendant after attorneys for two alleged sexual assault victims claimed federal prosecutors violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act when they negotiated a nonprosecution agreement with the defendant.

Joseph DeMaria, a former federal prosecutor, said that while the opinion is legally correct, it could significantly impact the 90 percent of federal cases resolved by pleas. DeMaria says it is now up to Congress to amend the Crime Victims’ Rights Act to establish a safeguard for defendants.

The ruling could have “a chilling effect on plea negotiations where victims are aggressively seeking information,” he said.

“If these types of plea discussions are now discoverable by victims, then it’s going to cause significant problems for the government and defendants in trying to resolve criminal cases,” DeMaria said.