As representatives of the State, prosecutors have special responsibilities that the defense does not have. Prosecutors are supposed to be on the side of justice, so they should look at the evidence with that goal in mind. If they find evidence that would tend to show that the defendant is innocent, they have a responsibility to share that evidence. Specifically, a Supreme Court case called Brady requires that the prosecution must turn over any evidence to the defense that meets certain criteria. If they do not do this, a conviction may be reversed. There are a number of different ways that a skilled Tampa criminal defense attorney may be able to get your conviction overturned. Of course, individual results will depend on the facts of your case.
There are certain requirements that need to be met in order for a court to find that a Brady violation has occurred. The burden is on the defendant to show that a Brady violation has taken place. The first thing the defense needs to prove is that the evidence either impeached the testimony of a prosecution witness or was exculpatory. They also need to prove that the State either willfully or inadvertently withheld that evidence from the defense. Finally, the defendant needs to show that the evidence was material and that their lack of access to the evidence hurt their case.
The Florida Supreme Court has clarified some other aspects that are necessary for a Brady violation. One of the important aspects that they have clarified is that the defense must not have known about the existence of the evidence at the time of the trial. The reasoning behind this is that if the defense knew about the evidence, it wasn’t withheld.
In order to understand the significance of the evidence the prosecution may have withheld, it is important to first understand the evidence that the prosecution and the defense presented. The defendant was found to have sold a number of different valuables that belonged to the deceased. These sales occurred about a week after the victim went missing. The defendant was also seen moving items in a U-Haul from the victim’s house. There was also a bad smell coming from the U-Haul and blood that matched the victim’s. The victim’s remains were found in the backyard of the defendant’s father’s home after the defendant had helped to build a barbecue pit back there.
At trial, the defendant’s father testified against him. The evidence that the defendant wanted to show was the complete video from returning the U-Haul. He argued that the video would show that when he returned the U-Haul, his father and his niece were with him. This contradicted his father’s testimony.
During the trial, the prosecution did play video from returning the U-Haul, but they fast forwarded through most of the video. The defendant claimed that if the “unedited” video was shown, it would have impeached his father’s testimony. The appeals court here did not find this argument persuasive. They held that there was so much evidence against the defendant that even if his father’s testimony was discredited, he still would have been found guilty. Thus, there was no Brady violation, and the conviction was upheld.
Contact An Experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one are charged with murder, you should contact a skilled Tampa homicide defense attorney as soon as possible. At Hanlon Law, we fight aggressively on behalf of clients charged with a crime. Call our offices at (813) 228-7095 or contact us online to speak with an attorney.
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