According to Cornell University Law School:
The Brady Rule, named for Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), requires prosecutors to disclose materially exculpatory evidence in the government’s possession to the defense. “Brady material” or evidence the prosecutor is required to disclose under this rule includes any evidence favorable to the accused– evidence that goes towards negating a defendant’s guilt, that would reduce a defendant’s potential sentence, or evidence going to the credibility of a witness.
…..The defendant bears the burden of proving that the undisclosed evidence was material, and the defendant must show that there is a reasonable probability that there would be a difference in the outcome of the trial had the evidence been disclosed by the prosecutor.
Evidence must be disclosed by prosecutors to the defendant and their attorney whether or not it is in the possession of law enforcement, and whether or not they know about it. Failure to do so results in a Brady Rule violation. However, there is little in the way of accountability and consequences to prosecutors who commit violations.
While most prosecutors and law enforcement are diligent in their duties, Brady Rule violations are said to be one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in America’s courts. This type of misconduct is devastating to all who come to the system seeking true justice.
Scores of wrongfully convicted have been given death sentences, and the state has occasionally executed innocent persons, or at best, come very close. Credible evidence is often difficult to uncover from behind bars, and they are left with few options.
Additionally, the wrongfully incarcerated must continue to hire attorneys and investigators who have the ability to dig deep and find evidence which is often hidden, whether by prosecutors themselves, or police officers involved in original or ongoing investigation and interrogations.
There must be a sense of accountability on the part of a prosecution team, along with appropriate sanctions when the Brady Rule is violated. As we continue to work with clients who believe they are wrongfully convicted we see first hand how violations affect the outcome of their cases.
The devastation of a wrongful conviction costs not only families and communities, but financially affects agencies who are responsible for funds used in settlements when exoneration occurs. While financially beneficial, no amount of settlement can repay the exonerated for the years they spent behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit. When there are no consequences for those who sent them to a conviction through misconduct and violations of the Brady Rule, apologies ring hollow and the cycle continues.
Management Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.
Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements. Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email firstname.lastname@example.org