It is mandated that the government, specifically law enforcement and prosecution, is bound to disclose exculpatory evidence as decreed in various US Supreme Court rulings including the landmark cases of Brady and Giglio.
To expound on the legalities involved on Brady, Giglio and Discipline Disclosures, Justice Clearinghouse invited Rick Hodson. Rick Hodson is the assistant county attorney in Minnesota. He’s been a lawyer for almost 40 years with a career that expanses management and employment law, civil and criminal matters on correction, criminal prosecution, law enforcement operations and training on civil litigation, criminal law, and personnel issues.
Rick Hodson will be discussing discipline disclosures including its history, process implementation, and other issues surrounding the subject. Some of the specifics he will be unpacking on the course are:
- Milestone cases that helped define the discipline disclosure rules, scope, and limitations including 1963’s Brady v. Maryland, 1985’s Giglio v. the United States, 1976’s United States v. Agurs, and 1995’s Kyles vs. Whitley.
- Defining material evidence covered by Brady-Giglio disclosures as applying only to official data and sustained discipline and misconduct that can potentially question a personnel’s credibility.
- The exclusion of technical violations or procedural issues to the disclosure rules and the sole exception to such if the person involved practiced dishonesty and false statements.
The four models used in process implementation, its mechanics, roles limitations, advantages, and disadvantages:
- Federal Model where a Brady-Giglio coordinator takes care of collating personnel files and where the prosecutor just chooses whether to prosecute or not.
- Prosecution Run Model where the agencies are expected to send their full Brady list to the prosecutors’ office which the prosecutor must then review when cases come in.
- Agency Run Model where the agencies maintain an internal Brady list and must forward the files of the concerned individual when a case is sent to the prosecutor.
- The Defense Model where the defense counsel maintains the Brady list database.
The categories of potential Brady-Giglio material that looks into the different instances that must be taken into consideration such as:
- False reports which include written reports, recorded oral statements, and official records like timesheets.
- Racial, religious, or personal bias like when a person expressed persecution of a certain segment of the society.
- Promises and offers, including grant of immunity exhibiting abuse of power.
- Mishandling or loss of evidence and property which illustrates a level of negligence.
- Excessive use of force incidents that might question abuse of authority.
- Criminal convictions not only for government personnel but also civilian witnesses.
- Controversies including sexual and racial harassment.
- Inappropriate access to government data suggesting abuse of power and breach of security/confidentiality.
- Other sustained actions reflecting on credibility.
- How both the law enforcement agency and the prosecutor bear the burden to ensure transparency and ethics.
- Adhering to Brady-Giglio disclosure by enforcing strict truthfulness by enforcing appropriate sanctions and including credibility and honesty to job functions, and what to do if a personnel or witness has Brady-Giglio material.
- Other areas to consider from an agency and prosecutor standpoint in maintaining Brady-Giglio documentation such as staffing, process flow, due process, overturning decision, and data handling.
- The importance of understanding your respective state’s Brady-type requirements and how it coincides with the federal guidelines.
- The poll questions inquired on the webinar participants’ experience and policies relating to the Brady-Giglio discipline disclosure.
Rick clarified during the Q&A the audience’s concerns on:
- The scope of Brady-Giglio disclosure in specific cases,
- The agency’s liability in case of undisclosed details
- Law enforcement officers’ privacy rights
- Accusations without sustained discipline
- Prosecutor’s duty to inform the defense in case a detail that was undisclosed in the past surfaces