What is the Brady List for Police Officers?

Posted by Ronald D. HeddingMar 10, 2022

Can Los Angeles police officers get themselves on what is known as the “Brady list?” These lists contain information about law enforcement members who are not strictly credible. It was initially created due to the Brady v. Maryland Supreme Court case results.

Brady List for the Police

This list has to do with those officers who get complaints against themselves because they do something improper while handling cases. For example, if they were to lie in a police report and somebody complained, they could get on the “Brady List.” 

Suppose any police officer is caught fabricating their police report or doing something inappropriate while they're in the line of duty. In that case, this will be documented in their permanent file. 

That's why many criminal defense lawyers are defending people claiming that the police lied during a police report, and of course, that lie is being used to prosecute them. 

Prosecutors are responsible for maintaining these lists. In some cases, information on Brady lists can be requested with a Brady motion. They allow defense attorneys to seek other information from the prosecution. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will review this topic more closely below.

General Information About Brady Lists

Simply put, a Brady List contains information about members of the law enforcement community that could have credibility issues, but it's not only police officers on the list.  Any employee in the police department could be included on the Brady list, such as detectives or witnesses. There are numerous reasons why a police officer ends up on the Brady List in Los Angeles, such as:

  • Falsify a police report,
  • False testimony in court,
  • Attempting to coerce a witness,
  • Tampering or fabricating evidence,
  • Plating evidence.

It is crucial to keep track of these police officers because they will keep making arrests. In other words, some law enforcement officers are not credible and could arrest someone on false charges. Their reputation could come into question in a criminal case. It's not always the case that the police lies are used against criminal defendants. 

Then, often, whether there's Brady material, this material that shows that they're not telling the truth doesn't matter because the prosecutors have other witnesses. They don't need the police to prove the case against the defendant.  So, the fact that the police may have lied becomes irrelevant.

Police Officers with Prior Misconduct on their Record

But this Brady List has to do with those police officers who have marks on their record that can be used against them.  It can be used against them when they try to get future employment. It can be used against them by a criminal defense attorney who can get the information that shows that they lied about something and impeach them on the witness stand. 

The criminal defense attorney can also find witnesses who have complained against the police officer. Often, you can match up what the witnesses are complaining about with what your client is complaining about, and you see an identical match. 

In other words, the police officer is doing the same thing that they did with your client to someone else in the past. You could use that person as a witness, especially in a jury trial if the police officer is the primary witness against your client. 

You could impeach their credibility with prior bad acts, fabricating police reports, making false statements, planting evidence.  There's a whole host of different things that can get a police officer on this mysterious Brady List. 

The bottom line is that the Brady case has to do with prosecutors turning over what we call exculpatory evidence related to some of their witnesses and usually police officers. This exculpatory evidence can be used to show that the police are lying and can be used to help criminal defendants defend themselves in a particular criminal case.

Brady Motions in California

A criminal defense lawyer could request a Brady hearing if the defense believes a prosecutor holds back evidence that shows their client is innocent. A Brady hearing is requested with a motion that can be filed at any time during a criminal trial but usually is filed during pre-trial hearings.

Brady Motions in California

This motion can request any evidence withheld by the prosecution, including any police officer's misconduct history. For instance, the prosecutor knows an officer arrested you with a history of fabricating evidence. You face charges of selling drugs, but you claim the accusations are false.

A Brady hearing might allow your defense attorney to show the arresting officer has fabricated evidence before, which could significantly weaken the case against you. Further, a Brady hearing could allow your lawyer to get obtain additional evidence from the prosecution, such as:

  • Witness statements,
  • Video recordings,
  • DNA test results.

Brady lists could be significant in driving under the influence (DUI) cases under California Vehicle Code 23152 VC. For example, suppose you were pulled over at a traffic stop for a suspected DUI. The police officer claims you were driving erratically, which was their probable cause to stop you. Perhaps this officer has a history of stopping people without sufficient cause.

We could access the Brady list associated with this police officer, show they have a pattern of inappropriate conduct, and use it for your defense. We could get the charges reduced or dismissed.

Contact our Defense Lawyers About the Brady Lists

So, if you have a case and you need the best -- you need somebody who's been doing it for 30 years, you've come to the right place.  My name is Ron Hedding. 

I've impeached many police officers in Los Angeles County and across the country with evidence that they have not told the truth in prior cases, and I've used it to impeach them on cross-examination in the case at hand, to damage their credibility, to win motions and to be successful in jury trials.

So, if you want the best if you have a criminal case in Los Angeles or any of the surrounding counties, or you have a federal case -- whatever it is -- pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. The Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles County, and we offer a free case consultation by calling (213) 542-0979, or by filling out the contact form.