Brady evidence is often discussed by Valrico criminal defense attorneys and their clients when discussing discovery and the prosecutor’s obligation to turn over discovery and other materials. In short, Brady evidence is derived from United States Supreme Court Case titled Brady vs Maryland. In Brady, the United States Supreme Court held that prosecutors are essentially required to turn over anything that could be deemed exculpatory towards a criminal defendant. While the court expanded and further elaborated on this requirement in later cases, such as Giglio. Brady gave us the initial holding that requires prosecutors to turn over those exculpatory materials. In short, exculpatory material is essentially anything that keeps a criminal defendant out of jail and is favorable to their case. Again, later cases held that exculpatory material can include material that impeaches prosecution witnesses.
Currently, the biggest Brady issue nationwide is the disclosure of either witnesses negative to the prosecution or the disclosure of negative DNA tests. Prosecutors are required to give notice regarding any negative witnesses for their case. The real question though is what constitutes a negative witness. Generally, most Valrico Criminal Defense Attorneys’ find that a witness negative to the prosecution is generally one of two types of witnesses.
First, they can obviously be a witness that will testify the defendant didn’t do it. These witnesses are generally disclosed to defense attorneys without issue. There is no real question as to these questions falling under the requirements of Brady. An offshoot of these witnesses are a witness that is negative for the State testified they did not see the defendant committing the act, but they saw someone else committing the act. This is still obviously a negative witness because it could exculpate a defendant in front of a jury.
The second primary issue defense attorneys across the nation are dealing with is the disclosure of negative DNA evidence. This issue is so critical in situations where the prosecution and/or law enforcement officers have identified DNA samples from the crime scene, but those samples did not come back matching the defendant. It is obviously our position that this is absolutely Brady material and must be turned over to defendant pursuant to the Supreme Court’s holding in Brady vs Maryland. The plea forms in Hillsborough County now require the prosecutor and defense attorney to certify that they are not aware of any DNA evidence to still be tested. It is also worth noting the overwhelming majority of local prosecutors are going to disclose this evidence without question or delay.
If you have questions concerning Brady materials and/or other criminal discovery, contact the Brandon Criminal Defense Attorneys of Hackworth Law for free case consultation. We’ve handled thousands of criminal defense matters in the Tampa Bay area and will sit down with you and determine aggressive strategy to protect your rights. If you would like to contact one of our Valrico criminal defense attorneys immediately, please use the “Contact Us Now” tab in the upper right-hand corner of our website or the chat box in the lower right-hand corner of our website for a free case consultation immediately. We appreciate you taking the time to check our Brandon criminal defense attorney blog and look forward to working with you in the future.