Officer Prevails In Potential Placement On Brady List

In December of 2008, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office issued notification to a police officer, whose name and agency will remain anonymous for the obvious reasons, informing the officer that a decision had been made to place him in the Brady Alert System for an incident in which the client was found not guilty of any criminal charges and no administrative allegations were ever made by the officer’s employing agency.

The officer, while off-duty, was involved in a verbal dispute with his wife, which resulted in his wife being injured by the family dog, a police-trained German shepherd who adversely responded to the officer’s wife’s over-dramatic tantrum. The wife, who coincidentally filed divorce papers the following day, fabricated allegations of domestic violence against the officer based on the injuries she received from the dog. The officer was arrested and charged with domestic violence. Throughout the investigation and during the trial, the wife provided multiple inconsistent statements regarding the alleged physical abuse by her husband. After a thorough cross-examination and evidence from a defense expert indicating the injuries were clearly from a dog, the wife eventually admitted to providing false statements to the police regarding the incident. Accordingly, the jury found the officer not guilty of domestic violence. Most would expect that this nightmare for this officer would end there; however, it did not.

After the District Attorney’s Office was unsuccessful in prosecuting the officer, they notified the officer of their intent to place the officer in the Brady Alert System pursuant to alleged inconsistent statements and domestic violence, even though he was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. Additionally, the officer’s department chose not to investigate the matter internally as it was clear he was found not guilty and it was the wife of the officer who lied to law enforcement not the other way around. However, the District Attorney’s Office had its own agenda. As such, the Police Officers’ Association retained Kimberly D. Riley to oppose the decision to place the officer into the Brady Alert System.

In October of 2009, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office decided that upon review of the record and the written brief submitted on behalf of the officer, it could not be concluded that substantial evidence existed to support the determination that the officer should be placed into the Brady Alert System. Accordingly, the decision by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office was vacated and as a result the officer was not be placed into the Brady Alert System. The officer was pleased to receive that information, bringing some comfort, peace of mind, and final closure to an incident, which should not have occurred in the first place.

 

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