Police Officers, Policy, and Personnel Files: Prosecutorial Disclosure Obligations Above and Beyond Brady

November 1, 2023

Police officers play a significant role in the criminal trial process and are unlike any other witness who will take the stand.  They are trained to testify, and jurors find them more credible than other witnesses, even though officers may have more incentive to lie than the ordinary witness.  Despite the role of police officers in criminal proceedings, state statutes say virtually nothing about evidence used to impeach police officers, often contained in the officer’s personnel file.  Worse still, the standard for disclosing information in an officer’s personnel file varies among and within states, resulting in inconsistent Brady disclosures.  This Note addresses this legislative gap by supplying a uniform legislative approach that considers the interests of the police, the prosecution, and the defense.

November 2023

No. 2