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Tampa Criminal Lawyer > Blog > Criminal > How Brady Disclosures Can Help You Get Acquitted

How Brady Disclosures Can Help You Get Acquitted


Somewhere, an aspiring screenwriter has stayed up late reading Kafka and has an idea for a screenplay.  The entire movie takes place in an interrogation room.  In a variation of the Reid technique, the investigator outlines several scenarios by which the defendant might have committed the crime and asks the defendant to choose which one best represents how he did it.  The twist is that the defendant is innocent, and the investigator has known this all along.  While it would make for an interesting character-driven, low budget film, this nightmarish scenario would happen all the time if it were not for due process of law.  Unfortunately, police and prosecutors still try to get away with this kind of behavior when they think they can.  Sometimes police treat you like they think that you are guilty even when they know that you are innocent.  Sometimes they even tell the jury that you are guilty, when they know that this is false.  This is as unjust and illegal as it sounds, and the purpose of the Supreme Court decision Brady v. Maryland is to protect defendants from this injustice.  A Tampa criminal defense lawyer can help you request Brady disclosures and use them to build a successful defense.

What Are Brady Disclosures?

In the 1963 decision Brady v. Maryland, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a defendant who had been wrongfully convicted of murder.  At Brady’s trial, prosecutors had failed to reveal to the jury that someone else had confessed to the murder.  Brady and his lawyers also did not find out about the other man’s confession until after Brady had been convicted.

Pursuant to Brady, during the pretrial discovery phase of the case, prosecutors must reveal all evidence to defendants that might be useful to the defendants in building their defenses.  For example, defendants may examine police records related to the case in their entirety, since they might find exculpatory evidence that the police did not reveal to prosecutors.  They must also obtain copies of arrest photos to look for discrepancies between the photo and testimony provided by an eyewitness.

Brady disclosures can also help defendants call into question the credibility of prosecution witnesses, including but not limited to police officers.  Defendants may examine police department records that list incidents of misconduct by police officers, such as perjury and coercing defendants to confess; these records of police misconduct are sometimes called Brady lists.  Prosecutors must also let you know when witnesses who testify against you are testifying as a condition of a plea deal and when they have received immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony.  Demonstrating the untrustworthiness of prosecution witnesses can be a successful defense strategy; it is often sufficient to establish reasonable doubt about your guilt.

Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Bryant Scriven

A criminal defense lawyer can help you exercise your right to due process of law by requesting Brady disclosures.  Contact Scriven Law in Tampa, Florida to schedule a consultation.



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