Brooklyn Park Police Work With County Attorney On Evidence Disclosure Policy
The Hennepin County Attorney’s office announced new policies this week meant to ensure fair trials.
Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty said she’s created a new process for evidence disclosure.
Moriarty worked with the Brooklyn Park Police Department, as well as other local police departments, while crafting the policies.
“Fair trials are the bedrock of our criminal legal system,” Moriarty said at a press conference. “If a defendant does not receive a fair trial, a conviction can be overturned.”
Supreme Court Cases and Hennepin County Trials
These new measures aim to ensure the attorney’s office is fulfilling the so-called “Brady/Giglio” requirements in federal law.
Both requirements are named after U.S. Supreme Court cases.
In the case Brady v. Maryland, the court ruled that the government must disclose all potentially exculpatory evidence. That is, the county attorney must disclose evidence that could show a defendant is innocent.
Likewise, in Giglio v. United States, the court ruled that impeachment evidence — or evidence that may cast doubt on the credibility of witness such as a police officer — must be disclosed.
Moriarty said a new process being used by the attorney’s office ensures this information is properly disclosed.
She also has provided training to attorneys and hired both an attorney and paralegal to focus on compliance with these legal requirements.
“Our goal is to be disclosing this information earlier,” Moriarty said. “It is to litigate it in front of the judge. In other words, we can disclose it and still go into court and argue that it shouldn’t be relevant in a given case and have all of that decided, so that when we go to court and an officer goes to court, we’re not having to deal with that. And an officer is not being blindsided by questions about it.”
Brooklyn Park Police Chief Mark Bruley said he felt confident in the new process.
“Officers make mistakes — they’re held accountable,” Bruley said. “And that accountability, it sometimes may show up in trials. It should be, and that brings some credibility to the system.”
Meanwhile, Bruley said that he believes any Brooklyn Park officer could be a credible witness in court.