They’re called Brady lists, after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1963 decision in Brady v. Maryland, and every district attorney in Colorado should have one: a list of law enforcement officers who have credibility issues that prosecutors are obligated to disclose to the defense if they’re going to put those cops on the stand.
There are hundreds of current and former law enforcement officers on these lists, but with little uniformity in how they’re compiled or shared, it’s difficult for the public to learn who in their local police department or sheriff’s office has issues that could impact their credibility on the stand in court.
The Denver Post requested Brady lists from Colorado’s 22 district attorney’s offices, and only nine provided lists or the accompanying letters for each officer. Nine others said they believed this information was not a matter of public record, and four didn’t respond at all.
All told, the Post compiled a list of 466 current and former law enforcement officers who have criminal convictions, histories of lying, excessive force incidents or other backgrounds that their superiors believed were required to be disclosed.
But that’s an incomplete tally, not just because many DAs withheld their lists, but some who did turn over information blacked out officers’ names or provided no context as to why they people were on the list — something even defense attorneys in court can have difficulty ascertaining.
In today’s Post, public safety reporter Elise Schmelzer takes a deep and important look at how this key measure of police accountability is handled in Colorado, and shows there’s insufficient transparency when it comes to identifying police officers with questionable credibility.
— Matt Sebastian, The Denver Post
Uneven approach to Colorado police officers with questionable credibility leaves public in the dark
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See more great photos like this on The Denver Post’s Instagram account.
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