Douglas County District Attorney Suzanne Valdez today announced that her office has instituted a formal Brady/Giglio Policy, which is intended to promote the State’s obligation to disclose exculpatory and impeachment information to criminal defendants and to seek a just result in every case.
The Brady/Giglio Policy refers to two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that help protect the right to a fair trial guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The Policy seeks full cooperation of law enforcement in the gathering and disclosing of Brady/Giglio information to the Court and ultimately the defendant when such information is material and relevant to a defendant’s case.
“Of course the DA’s Office has already been following these constitutional directives since I took office in January of last year,” said District Attorney Suzanne Valdez. “However, I feel strongly that expectations be clearly delineated and published in writing in order assure the public that the DA’s Office and our local law enforcement agencies take this matter seriously. The right to a fair trial is among the most important facets of our democracy.”
In Brady v. Maryland and Giglio v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized two types of evidence that are obviously of such value to a defendant that fairness requires it be disclosed. Withholding this information from an accused risks inviting sanctions, the suppression of evidence, the dismissal of charges, or a conviction’s reversal.
Brady entitles an accused to all “favorable . . . evidence [that] is material either to guilt or to punishment.” Giglio entitles an accused to all material “evidence affecting credibility” of any “witness [who] may well be determinative of [an accused’s] guilt or innocence.”
Valdez and a team of prosecutors in the DA’s Office worked with all area law enforcement agencies over the past year to review the constitutional mandate and craft a written policy that captures the practical considerations of our law enforcement partners. The Policy is consistent with all applicable federal and state constitutional law, state statutes, and case law.
“Collaboration and open lines of communication with our law enforcement partners were essential to the process of crafting the Brady/Giglio Policy,” Valdez said. “It is also essential that we are transparent with our policy, as we are all accountable to the public we serve.”
Full text of the policy can be found at https://www.douglascountyks.org/depts/district-attorney/policies.