Brady Issues in Georgia Sex Offense Cases
The Brady doctrine is a pretrial discovery rule that was established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Brady v. Maryland (1963). This rule requires that the prosecution turn over all exculpatory evidence to the defendant in a criminal case. Exculpatory evidence is evidence that might exonerate the defendant. A failure to turn over evidence favorable to the accused violates due process and could result in the reversal of a defendant's conviction. In sum, the Brady rule requires disclosure of the exculpatory evidence early enough so that the defense can make use of the information. Brady material can consist of evidence that helps prove the accused's innocence, that impeaches the credibility of a witness, or helps to reduce their sentence.
The Brady Rule in Georgia
There are three components to establishing that evidence has been suppressed in violation of the Brady rule.
- The prosecution must have suppressed evidence or information.
- The evidence or information must have been favorable or helpful to the defense. This evidence could directly prove the defendant's innocence, or it could be information that leads to the discovery of material evidence.
- The information or evidence suppressed must have been material. This means that there is a reasonable probability that if the evidence had been turned over, the outcome of the case would have been different. A different outcome includes a lower sentence or an acquittal for the accused.
Practice Note in Georgia Sex Offense Cases
In cases after Brady, the Supreme Court eliminated the requirement for a defendant to have requested the favorable information. Instead, the Court said the prosecution has a constitutional duty to disclose triggered by the potential impact of favorable but undisclosed evidence. United States v. Bagley, 473 U.S. 667, (1985). Furthermore, the Court stated that the prosecutor is not required to deliver their entire file to the defense but only to disclose evidence favorable to the accused that, if suppressed, would deprive the defendant of a fair trial.
Litigating Brady violations is a complex process especially for attorneys who do not practice criminal defense on a daily basis. The attorney must show in a concise and easy to understand way that evidence was withheld and that it was vital to the accused's case at trial.
Contact Us Today
If you believe there has been a Brady violation in your case, contact our attorneys now. As stated previously, it is a complicated process, and one that needs to be started as soon as possible. Our attorneys have been exclusively practicing criminal defense for decades. They are intimately familiar with the rules of evidence and understand how suppression of evidence can be detrimental to your case. We care about you and your future and want to ensure that your rights were not violated. Call now for a free case evaluation and see how we can help.