Each week CrimProfBlog publishes the top ten downloaded articles. Here are three that may be useful to military justice practitioners.
Brady’s Blind Spot: Impeachment Evidence in Police Personnel Files and the Battle Splitting the Prosecution Team
Jonathan Abel, Stanford Law School – Constitutional Law Center
The Supreme Court’s Brady doctrine requires prosecutors to disclose favorable, material evidence to the defense, but in some jurisdictions, even well-meaning prosecutors cannot carry out this obligation when it comes to one critical area of evidence: police personnel files. These files contain valuable evidence of police misconduct that can be used to attack an officer’s credibility on the witness stand and can make the difference acquittal and conviction. But around the country, state statutes and local policies prevent prosecutors from accessing these files, much less disclosing the material they contain. And even where prosecutors can access the misconduct in these files, their ability to disclose this information, as required by the Constitution, is constrained by the efforts of police officers and unions who have used litigation, legislation, and informal political pressure to prevent Brady’s application to these files. Suppression of this misconduct evidence can cost defendants their lives, but disclosure can also be costly. It can cost officers their livelihoods.
Scientizing Culpability: The Implications of Hall v. Florida and the Possibility of a ‘Scientific Stare Decisis’
Christopher Slobogin, Vanderbilt University – Law School