On Sunday, Wilmer Maldonado Rodriguez, who was a witness in an upcoming criminal trial, was found dead outside of his home. Multiple reports have tried to blame this tragedy on the recently passed discovery law.
In response to this misinformation, the New York Civil Liberties Union released the following statement from Executive Director, Donna Lieberman:
“The death of Wilmer Maldonado Rodriguez is a tragedy, but it has nothing do with recent criminal justice reforms. New York’s discovery law allows for protective orders, so that the identity of witnesses can be kept confidential. In fact, the new law gives courts more power to grant protective orders, including when defendants have a history of witness intimidation and to protect informants. In this case, the judge could and should have retained the protective order. It is irresponsible to mislead the public about the facts and exploit this tragedy.”