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DoJ: New Coordinator for Criminal Discovery Initiatives

Jaclyn Jaeger | February 2, 2010

The Department of Justice has appointed Andrew Goldsmith as the new national coordinator for its criminal discovery initiatives. The position was established as part of the DoJ's ongoing efforts, initiated last year at the direction of the Attorney General, to review and improve its criminal discovery and case management policies and procedures.

As the national coordinator, Goldsmith will oversee the implementation of a number of initiatives designed to provide prosecutors with the training and resources they need to meet discovery obligations in criminal cases. These efforts include:

  • Creating an online directory of resources on discovery issues available to all prosecutors at their desktop;
  • Producing a Handbook on Discovery and Case Management similar to the Grand Jury Manual so that prosecutors will have an accessible and comprehensive resource on discovery obligations;
  • Implementing a training curriculum and a mandatory training program for paralegals and law enforcement agents;
  • Revitalizing the Computer Forensics Working Group to ensure the proper cataloguing of electronically stored information recovered as part of federal investigations; and
  • Creating a pilot case management project to fully explore the available case management software and possible new practices to better catalogue law enforcement investigative files and to ensure that all the information is transmitted in the most useful way to federal prosecutors.

Goldsmith will also act as the primary liaison to all of the United States Attorneys’ Offices and Department components on these issues, as well as issues relating to electronic evidence in criminal cases.

As part of the department-wide initiative, Deputy Attorney General Ogden issued three memoranda earlier this month regarding criminal discovery practices including a memorandum to all prosecutors containing guidance on criminal discovery obligations. The guidance to prosecutors, United States Attorneys’ Offices and the heads of all litigating components followed a review of the Department’s policies, practices, and training related to criminal case management and discovery ordered by the Attorney General.

That review determined that incidents of discovery failures were rare in comparison to the number of cases prosecuted. However, the Department has instituted a number of steps intended to further ensure the Department complies with its discovery obligations.

Goldsmith serves as the first assistant chief of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Crimes Section, where he supervises environmental prosecutions and develops training on worker endangerment, environmental terrorism, and laboratory fraud, as well as electronic discovery. He served as chief of the Environmental Crimes Unit of the New York Attorney General's Office and was an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey. He previously worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and in private practice.