Police Abuse

Brickbat: I've Got a Little List

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The San Diego district attorney's office admits it keeps a list of law enforcement officers that it considers unreliable as witnesses in criminal cases. But it refuses to release that list of officers or even to say how many officers are on the list or which agencies they work for. In response to an open records request, the district attorney's office said the public interest in effective law enforcement outweighs any benefits of releasing such information. No, really.

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  1. “public interest in effective law enforcement ”

    I don’t think this means what they say it means.

  2. … public interest in effective law enforcement outweighs any benefits of releasing such information.

    They can’t be effective if you know who they are and know that they suck at their jobs.

    1. I am guessing if the list goes public a fair number of convictions will have to be thrown out.

      Additionally the officers on the list will be unable to testify in the future and thus useless as officers. They won’t be let go of course, but given paper pushing jobs. There are just so many slots available at the impound yard.

      1. Unable to testify in the future? How could a prosecutor put any of those officers on the stand now without essentially suborning perjury?

  3. It really is worth reading the article:

    Many prosecutors maintain a Brady Index to help ensure cases are not overturned on appeal due to dishonesty or misconduct in the backgrounds of officers testifying at trial.

    The lists are named after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling from 1963 that found prosecutors wrongly withheld exculpatory evidence from lawyers representing a murder defendant.

    So it’s not just this DA – your local DA probably has a similar list and won’t tell you who’s on it

    The Watchdog sought the information in advance of a civil trial requested by a woman known as Jane Doe, who was violated in a 7-Eleven bathroom by former San Diego police officer Anthony Arevalos.

    Goddamn it.

    1. I should have added, this hero in blue sexually assaulted eight young women in total

      1. But he went home safely at the end of his shift. It’s all that matters.

        1. But he went home lonely. Won’t anyone please think of the children he needs?

  4. What the hell does it take for a police officer to be deemed an unreliable witness? Outright lying under oath when the prosecutor knows better? If so, why hasn’t the police officer been prosecuted for perjury?

    And just how would the prosecutor know the officer is lying? Seems like the most likely way is if the cop contradicts facts the prosecutor knows to be true. Which implies that more often than not the lie must go in favor of the prosecutor’s argument, and therefore the prosecutor is allowing false testimony to stand, knowing that it is false, for the purpose of bolstering his or her argument.

    Sounds totally legit, guys.

  5. You know who else kept a list of names….

    1. Senator McCarthy?

    2. St Peter?

    3. A modern major general?

  6. In her statement to the Watchdog, prosecutor Tanney said there is good reason for withholding the names and departments of individuals on the Brady Index.

    “The records are ‘official information’ as defined by Evidence Code section 1040 and 1043, and as such are recognized as being among the most sensitive and confidential of records,” she wrote.

    Well, that’s comforting. We can’t release our lists, and thereby compromise the continued employment of unreliable cops, because we labeled the files “official.” And our Code does not permit us to release files marked Official.

    The mask: you doffed it.

  7. Also:

    In her statement to the Watchdog, prosecutor Tanney said there is good reason for withholding the names and departments of individuals on the Brady Index.

    “The records are ‘official information’ as defined by Evidence Code section 1040 and 1043, and as such are recognized as being among the most sensitive and confidential of records,” she wrote.

    Did she really need that many words to say “FYTW?”

    1. She’s a lawyer. So, yes.

  8. I think the scenario here is that the prosecutors don’t trust the cops.

    Without the list, when a policeman is about to testify against the defendant that “I searched the suspect and found a brick of cocaine or whatever,” and the prosecutor asks the cop, “anything in your background the defendant could use to impeach you?” and the cop says “no.” But with this list, the prosecutor can find out that the cop was given a 30-day suspension for, say, selling cocaine out of of his patrol car.

    The prosecutors can’t get these cops fired, but they are legally required to tell defendants about these sort of blips on a witness’s record. Hence the list, because we can be quite sure the cops wouldn’t maintain such a list on their own initiative.

    1. but they are legally required to tell defendants about these sort of blips on a witness’s record.

      Sure they are. But do they? It’s not like they face any consequences if they don’t.

      1. The defense attorney has to ask, and then trust that the prosecutor hasn’t “accidentally” over-looked the fact that said officer is on the list. If the defense attorney asks if Officer James Patrick O’Neill, Badge #24315 is on the Brady list, for example, and there’s only an Officer James P. O’Neill, Badge #24315 on the list, it’s completely understandable why a prosecutor would answer “No” to the question.

  9. “The San Diego district attorney’s office admits it keeps a list of law enforcement officers that it considers unreliable as witnesses in criminal cases. But it refuses to release that list of officers or even to say how many officers are on the list or which agencies they work for.”

    ALL cops are on the list.

  10. Transparency is anathema to Authority which has an iron-fisted interest in appearing impartial and upright. Remove the veil and Authority becomes immediately inferior due to its swamp of sins. Humans are not designed for power.

  11. An attorney, including a prosecutor, has a duty of candor toward the tribunal (court). If he presents a witness who he knows has testified falsely, he must advise the judge and opposing counsel that the testimony was false. If not, it is a violation of his rules of professional conduct and she can be disbarred and prosecuted for suborning perjury.

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