Prosecutors must share with the defense any information about a law enforcement agent related to the case whose credibility has been compromised.
TAMPA, Fla — To ensure equity and fairness in criminal proceedings, Hillsborough County maintains a list of law enforcement officers considered not credible for testimony.
The list is commonly known as a “Brady List,” but referred to as a “Law Enforcement Employee Disclosure List” within the state attorney’s office. When someone is accused of a crime and a person on this list is involved or called to testify, by law, prosecutors must share that information with the defense.
“Police officers are not above the law, and they’re not above accountability. So, any information that reflects on the credibility of a witness is relevant to the prosecution and has to be disclosed. That goes for defendants, it goes for lay witnesses, and it goes for police,” said Andrew Warren, State Attorney of Florida’s 13th Judicial Circuit, Hillsborough County.
Many on the list have either resigned or were let go by their respective agency. However, some on the list raise serious questions about credibility. One example on the list includes a former Tampa Police Department officer arrested for cocaine possession. No charges were filed and the officer retired from TPD. According to this list, he remains a reserve officer.
Other examples on the list include accusations of a TPD officer tampering with evidence and a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputies using excessive force.
“We’re not hiding information about law enforcement misconduct. There’s some misconduct that’s significant. There’s some misconduct that’s minor, but in all circumstances, we are doing what we were required to do to make sure that a defendant is having a fair trial,” said Warren.
However, not all counties in the Tampa Bay area maintain such a list.
“There’s not a central place for us to go to look, so it’s kind of on our own to do this,” said criminal defense attorney Lucas Fleming, who was once a prosecutor in Hillsborough County.
Fleming said his office has to run officers’ names and appellate opinions to see if they’ve been found not credible in court. He says Pinellas could benefit from the type of transparency a ‘Brady list’ has to offer.
“It is certainly helpful I think to the community, you know, to know which officers can be trusted which officers can’t,” he said.
Information on Brady Lists and Hillsborough’s Law Enforcement Employee Disclosure List is updated regularly and subject to change.
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