An open file policy would prevent numerous problems in the Loudoun County Judicial System as well as in any Judicial System. Currently Loudoun County does not have an open file policy. An open file policy is a policy in which the Commonwealth Attorney would share all files with the defendant’s attorney. As it stands now, there is no such policy. Unfortunately many people in the Loudoun County judicial system take unfair advantage of this and hides critical evidence from the accused. This includes the Commonwealth Attorney and the various attorneys’ from the County Attorney’s office.
The way the process is now, it is up to the Commonwealth Attorney to provide the files to the defense attorney. It is naive to believe that the Commonwealth Attorney would provide files to the opposing attorney that may exonerate the accused, although this is required by law (Brady Act). Again and again prosecutors have consistently violated the Brady Act as mentioned by a Federal Judge in the following New York Times article.
Loudoun County is no exception; the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office needs an open file policy. There is too much incentive for the prosecutor to cheat and withhold evidence. This filters down to Loudoun County CPS and the County Attorney’s office as well; the CPS agency needs an open file policy. The investigators for CPS are infamous for withholding evidence, for that matter the management as well. As the policy now allows, CPS is not required to provide evidence until 45 days after the investigation starts. During this time frame, the accused is forced to go into Juvenile Domestic Court without having seeing or reviewing any of the alleged evidence. Even after the 45 days, CPS rarely provides all of the evidence; it is for all intentions a kangaroo Court.
This system, understandably, promotes very bad behavior. Sandra Glenney, the Assistant County Attorney, usually behaves in a very abhorrent way during the defendant’s trip through the Loudoun County Civil Court System. The CPS investigator and the Guardian Ad Litem usually follow her lead. They feel protected and justified in behaving badly because Sandra Glenney behaves badly. Article after article has been written that exposes prosecutors who have withheld evidence which have resulted in persons being wrongly convicted. The prosecutor or his office rarely faces any discipline for hiding evidence. This is why Sandra Glenney and the management at CPS feel so comfortable behaving in the manner that they do. She knows that there will be little if any consequences for her actions. The judiciary in Loudoun rarely will admonish Sandra Glenney.
An open file policy would assist in preventing this, it is important to make it a law with a substantial penalty if prosecutors or Assistant County Attorney’s do not abide by the policy.
An open file policy would prevent most of this bad behavior and would hopefully ensure that justice is finally served.