We hoped for some ripped-from-the-headlines remarks on the first morning of the ABA's annual meeting. Representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section were invited to sit on a panel discussing public corruption investigations and government ethics.
But alas they didn't come.
The discussion that proceeded without them focused partly on proposed amendments to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16, the rule requiring prosecutorial disclosure of exculpatory evidence that took center stage in the botched case against former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. The Justice Department is reviewing the issue. The Judicial Conference’s Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure is also considering an amendment to the rule.
“These are issues that are pending before [Attorney General Eric] Holder, and they’re not in a position where they can speak definitively,” said moderator Patrick Collins in explaining Justice’s reluctance to take part despite his invitation.
Collins is a former federal prosecutor himself and now a partner with Perkins Coie in Chicago. The panel also featured U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve, former D.C. Circuit Judge Abner Mikva and Chicago defense lawyer Ed Genson.