Disclosing Exculpatory Evidence

Just as a Sacramento DUI attorney is obligated to disclose exculpatory evidence to the prosecution, the prosecution must also disclose such material evidence that may establish the guilt of the defendant or lack thereof. This is known as a Brady motion.

What Is Exculpatory Evidence

The prosecution is obligated to disclose any evidence that is exculpatory. Evidence is exculpatory if the attorney needs it to prove that the defendant is not guilty. The defense can use exculpatory evidence to disprove guilt in any of the following three ways:

  • Show that the defendant is not guilty
  • Undermine the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses
  • Mitigate the punishment for the alleged crime

Materiality of the Evidence

In order for a Sacramento DUI attorney to successfully make a Brady demand for the prosecution to disclose exculpatory evidence, he must prove that the evidence is material to its defense preparation.

To prove materiality of exculpatory evidence, the defense must show that “there is a reasonable probability that, had the evidence been disclosed to the defense, the outcome would have been different.”

The attorney can use two different arguments to prove the materiality requirement:

  • Educate the prosecution about the defense. By properly educating the prosecutor, the attorney can make him or her understand that the requested evidence is needed in order to prove that the defendant is not guilty.
  • Prosecution is required to err on the side of disclosure. The attorney should remind the prosecutor that the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Brady case intended for the prosecution to err on the side of disclosure of evidence to the defense.

Prosecution’s Obligation in Responding to a Brady Demand

When the attorney makes a Brady demand, the prosecution must go beyond just searching its own files to produce the exculpatory evidence. For instance, the prosecution is even obligated to disclose names of police officers that may be harboring such exculpatory evidence.

We Can Help

For more information about the prosecution’s obligation to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense, call (916) 285-7900 to schedule a complimentary consultation with Sacramento DUI attorney Param Pabla.

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