The “Brady rule” requires the prosecution to turn over certain kinds of evidence in criminal cases. However, sometimes the prosecution ignores this rule. What are the consequences of a violation of the Brady rule here in California?
Violations of the Brady rule can result in the court setting aside a conviction. The prosecution may also face legal penalties for trying to violate this rule. Let’s go into the results of a Brady rule violation in more detail right now.
Review the Facts About the Brady Rule
Before we consider the results of a violation of the Brady rule, it’s important to establish the purpose of this legal code. The Brady rule was set up as a result of the Brady v. Maryland court case. This case was heard in the Supreme Court.
Brady v Maryland dealt with due process and its function in our court system. According to the Supreme Court, the prosecution has a legal duty to hand over some types of evidence to the defense. Prosecutors have to hand over evidence if it is:
- Favorable to the defense AND
- Material to the case
Evidence is considered “material” if it is likely to have an effect on the outcome of a case. For example, evidence that would have proved the defendant was not guilty would be considered material. Under the Brady rule, prosecutors have a duty to turn this evidence over. They also have to turn over evidence that would otherwise damage their case.
Outcomes of a Brady Rule Violation in California
Brady rule violations can have a serious impact on criminal cases here in Los Angeles. Note that, in many cases, these violations are not discovered until after a trial is over. A lawyer can step in to file a Brady dispute even after an individual has been convicted.
A Brady rule violation can cause the court to set aside a conviction. However, you should know that this is not a guaranteed outcome. The court can decide to uphold a conviction in some cases. For example, let’s say that there was enough additional evidence to result in a conviction.
In the above case, the court could allow a conviction to stand. However, the prosecution for the case could still face legal penalties. Knowingly withholding material evidence is taken very seriously here in California.
Evidence Associate with the Brady Rule in California
Legally, the prosecution is required to turn over any material evidence that demonstrates the defendant’s innocence. There are many possible kinds of evidence in the state of California. The prosecution may turn over:
- Witness statements
- Blood test results
- Fingerprint tests
Blood test results are often pertinent if an individual is accused of driving under the influence (DUI). California measures a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) for many DUI cases. Let’s say that a driver’s blood test came back with a low BAC. However, the prosecution failed to share this test result with the defense. This could be considered a violation of the Brady rule.
Note that the prosecution is not required to note that they are sharing evidence that shows a defendant’s innocence. They must only provide the evidence. It is up to a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles to apply the evidence properly.
Brady Hearings for Legal Cases in California
We mentioned earlier that many Brady violations are only discovered after a trial. However, this is not always the case. A defense lawyer can suspect that the prosecution is holding back evidence. In this situation, they could request a Brady hearing.
A Brady hearing can occur while a criminal case is ongoing. A judge will work to determine if the prosecution withheld evidence at this hearing. In some cases, judges will declare a mistrial if they discover the prosecution violating the Brady rule. Some judges will even dismiss charges in this case. Find out more by contacting us now.
Ask a Lawyer About the Consequences of a Violation of the Brady Rule
What are the consequences of a violation of the Brady rule? The prosecutors who broke the rules may face legal repercussions. The court can also decide to overturn a conviction based on the violation. Find out more about the Brady rule from a Los Angeles DUI lawyer. Just contact us today to get a free consultation.
We’ll go over your situation if you call (310) 896-2724. You can also fill out our online contact form.