What are Brady Lists? How do they prevent police conduct? And how could a Brady List impact your case?
What is a Brady List?
A Brady List is a watch list that prosecutors use to keep track of police officers who have engaged in or have been accused of misconduct. The name comes from a 1963 US Supreme Court case called Brady v. Maryland, the first case to establish them. Only about half of the district attorney’s offices in Massachusetts keep Brady Lists.
Here is a list of the counties in Massachusetts that have some version of a Brady List:
Of all the counties in the state, Middlesex has the largest Brady List. Over 100 law enforcement officials are on the record.|
What is on a Brady List?
Brady Lists keep a record of police officers who have been accused of or are guilty of police misconduct. Here is a sample of misconduct that could land an officer on the list:
- Falsifying a police report
- Fabricating or tampering with evidence
- Lying on the witness stand
- Coercing witnesses
- Brutalizing people
- Accruing a large number of misconduct lawsuits or complaints
In addition to the type of misconduct, Brady Lists also provide information on the officer’s department, whether or not they are still employed with the department, the type of investigation conducted, and the status of the allegations against them.
How do Brady Lists prevent misconduct?
No police officer wants to end up on a Brady List. In fact, there are serious reputational consequences for being on one. Brady Lists reduce the credibility of officers because they are public records. This means that anyone can access a Brady List and see if an officer has a history of exceeding their authority.
An officer on a Brady List often, but not always, resigns or otherwise stops being a police officer. The non-legal purpose of the list is to make the public aware of officers who may have not fully honored their oaths to protect the public and do justice for the community.
How could a Brady List impact my case?
A Brady List could have a very real impact on your criminal case, especially if you are accused of committing a crime.
The reason is that prosecutors are required to inform defense lawyers if an officer on a Brady List was involved with a case. For example, if the officer who arrests you happens to be on a Brady List for some other incident, the district attorney prosecuting the case against you will need to inform your lawyer of that information.
An officer who is on a Brady List also loses some credibility on the witness stand. Given the central role that police officers often play in providing evidence to support criminal charges, an officer who is discredited by their past activities plays a major role in defending against criminal accusations.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE ARE CHARGED WITH A CRIME, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.
CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.