Law Enforcement Dishonesty, Bias and Discipline

In all criminal cases, prosecutors are required to turn over any evidence that might help exonerate a defendant. This requirement exists because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Brady v. Maryland. Exculpatory evidence that falls under this category is referred to as “Brady” material. An example of this type of evidence would be if a law enforcement officer involved in a case has a history or dishonesty, bias, or internal investigations. Despite the Brady rule, prosecutors often do not comply with turning exculpatory evidence over. A criminal defense attorney should always investigate whether the officer involved in a case has a record that could call into question evidence presented by the prosecution.

It is not uncommon for police officers to face discipline for questionable practices. In February, a Seattle police officer was terminated after he was found to have regularly engaged in recreational drug use and had a history of using slurs related to race, sexual identity and gender. In January, another Seattle police officer was fired for posting threatening rhetoric on social media. In 2019, the Aberdeen Police Department’s official statement about an officer involved shooting was questioned when surveillance video emerged contradicting the officer’s account. Last week, the Seattle Times reported that two Snohomish County deputies that were on the prosecutor’s list of officers with credibility problems were recently reinstated by the new sheriff.

Recent investigations by Horwath Law have discovered an officer with a history of lying under oath and an officer who was reprimanded for making racially biased traffic stops. Other officers in the area have been disciplined for cheating on an exam, fabricating police reports, abusing an informant, making false statements, and coercion. Some prosecutors keep lists of “Brady” officers who have sustained instances of lying on the job, but the majority do not. Defense attorneys must remain vigilant in obtaining Brady information through their own investigations.

With Horwath Law Attorneys working on your case, relevant and exculpatory evidence will not fall through the cracks. Put your trust in a defense team that goes above and beyond in fighting your case.