What Is Brady Material in Law
If, as is all too often the case, the defendant has already been convicted when Brady`s violation is discovered, the defense attorney must seek an exoneration after conviction. This is done either in the form of a direct appeal against the conviction, the filing of a request for a new trial, or a request for a habeas corpus decision, depending on the procedure that has already taken place in the case. Regardless of the course of action, the defense will argue that the defendant`s due process and fair trial rights were violated when prosecutors withheld Brady`s documents. If the appeal, motion or motion is allowed, the defendant has the opportunity to have a new trial. In many cases where this happens, the government decides not to go through the time and cost of a new trial, and the accused is released. It is still too early to say with certainty what the full results of the changes made by the APPD will be. However, one thing is certain: the new law gives those accused of crimes an additional opportunity to fight for the protection of their due process and fair trial rights. Defense counsel can use these new orders to hold the prosecution accountable and compel it to comply with its obligations under the Brady Rule. In the Brady case, the material in question was Boblit`s testimony that allegedly assisted Brady`s defense. It is likely that the discovery of the confession would also have overturned Brady`s conviction after Bagley, because if the jury had known of Boblit`s testimony, the verdict for the murder charge could have been different. Brady problems usually occur when a prosecutor gets a tunnel vision because he is so convinced that the accused is guilty of the crime. This tunnel vision causes the prosecutor to ignore or hide evidence that could potentially prove the innocence of the accused because he does not want the evidence to stand in the way of a conviction. A glaring example of Brady material emerging in an innocence case is the case of Michael Hanline, who served 36 years for a murder he did not commit before his conviction was overturned in 2014.
The Brady Principle is a “rule of fairness.” In the landmark Brady v. Maryland case, John Leo Brady and a companion were both sentenced to death for first-degree murder. The companion made a series of statements, one of which suggested that it was he and not Brady who actually committed the murder. The prosecution handed over all of the companion`s statements except for those that exonerated Brady. In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the prosecution`s removal of evidence in favor of the accused violated constitutional due process, in which evidence is essential for either guilt or punishment, regardless of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution. A “Brady violation” is what happens when prosecutors in a criminal case fail to fulfill their constitutional duty to provide useful evidence to the people they have accused of crimes. Government lawyers may break the Brady Rule in different ways depending on the case, but in each of these cases, the problem is that they did not disclose Brady documents. A defendant who alleges a violation of Brady bears the burden of pointing out the harm to demonstrate a reasonable probability that the undisclosed evidence would have led to a different verdict. To establish a violation of Brady, the defendant must prove that the evidence in question was in favour of the accused, either because it is exculpatory or because it constitutes impeachment; the evidence was intentionally or inadvertently suppressed by the State; because the evidence was important, its removal resulted in prejudice; and the defendant did not have the evidence and could not obtain it himself with due diligence. A “reasonable probability” is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome.
United States v. Bagley, 473 U.S. 667 (1985); United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97 (1976); Strickler v. Greene, 527 U.S. 263 (1999). The first element consists of three elements that the courts must resolve. First, whether the information was “exculpatory” or “impeachment.” The ABA says there is “no significant distinction” between the two. Second, whether the alleged violation relates to “Brady material” or “Brady information.” Brady material usually refers to documents and tangible things, while Brady information can mean the testimony of a witness who is not recorded. Because prosecutors sometimes try to avoid Brady`s obligations by not remembering favorable information in writing, the ABA orders judges, lawyers, and law enforcement agencies to use the term “Brady information” instead of “Brady material.” (C) “Favourable evidence” is not limited to admissible evidence; Brady information may be favorable if it can reasonably lead to admissible evidence. The United States vs.
Bagley restricted the Brady Doctrine. In this case, the court concluded that the undisclosed evidence must be “material” for a brady violation to overturn a conviction, meaning that the removal of the evidence undermines the court`s confidence in the outcome of the trial. The Historic Brady v. Maryland was returned by the United States. Supreme Court in 1963. The decision concluded that under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, a prosecutor is required to disclose favorable evidence to defendants upon request if the evidence is “substantial” to guilt or punishment. Failure to comply with this obligation has become commonly known as the “Brady Violation.” But is there an ethical obligation? According to Rule 3.8(g) of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, if a prosecutor becomes aware of “new, credible and material evidence that creates a reasonable probability that a convicted defendant has not committed a crime for which the defendant has been convicted,” he or she must disclose the information to a court and to the defendant. However, the ABA Model Rules are only guidelines and States are not obliged to adopt the Model Rules. Rule 16 permits the inspection and copying of certain documents and objects if those elements are (1) essential to the defendant`s case, (2) the government intends to use the items in its principal case, or (3) the items are owned or obtained by the defendant.
This category includes evidence that a witness made previous statements that may be inconsistent (sometimes referred to as “Giglio documents”), as well as evidence that a witness had cause to lie, or that law enforcement officers, forensic technicians or other forensic specialists involved in the case may not be credible […].