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Letters: Cooley's Brady defense

August 03, 2012

Re "The D.A. and the Brady rule," Editorial, July 30

In 1963, Brady vs. Maryland held that prosecutors must turn over evidence that is favorable to the defendant where such evidence is material to either guilt or punishment. But there are important balances that need to be considered.

Because inclusion of a law enforcement officer on the Brady Alert System can have significant consequences for an individual's career and reputation, information concerning a peace officer witness is included only if there is "clear and convincing evidence" that the potential impeachment evidence is reliable and credible.

This is consistent with the Report and Recommendation of the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, which determined that "while established instances of dishonesty or moral turpitude must be disclosed, 'preliminary, challenged or speculative information' does not come within Brady, and should not result in placing an officer on a Brady list."

Until a court decides otherwise, we will follow the law as we understand it, not the dictates or desires of the ACLU.

Steve Cooley

Los Angeles

The writer is the district attorney of Los Angeles County.


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