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Can Waldorf Police Withhold Exculpatory Evidence?

The answer is an emphatic “no.” “Exculpatory” is a legal term meaning evidence that shows innocence or otherwise be helpful to the criminal defendant. In Waldorf, Maryland, criminal prosecuting attorneys cannot withhold exculpatory evidence from a defendant’s criminal defense lawyers. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in Waldorf, Maryland, you need to hire an experienced Waldorf criminal defense team like those at the Law Office of Robert Castro. We are available around the clock, 24/7. Call us at (301)705-5253. One reason to call us is that we are trial-tested criminal attorneys and we know the importance of demanding that the Maryland prosecutor’s office turn over any and all evidence that has been collected including ALL evidence that might be exculpatory. Here is a brief explanation.

In Charles County, Maryland, as part of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, law enforcement officials and state prosecutors are required to give to the criminal defense team evidence that will be used at trial. According to the U.S. Supreme Court’s case of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), the State is not allowed to withhold any evidence that might be “favorable” to the criminal defendant. “Favorable” evidence is evidence that might go to several types of defenses. First, “favorable” evidence might show that the defendant is innocent of the charges. For example, video evidence might show the perpetrator of the crime is someone different from the criminally accused. That is, the video shows that someone else committed the crime. Second, “favorable” evidence might be evidence that goes to the credibility of a witness, like the arresting police officer. For example, video evidence might show facts and events differently than sworn testimony provided by the arresting officer. This might then be used to cast doubt on the credibility of the testimony provided by the officer.

If the government fails to give exculpatory evidence to the defense, such might be the basis for demanding a new trial and/or filing a Maryland or federal post-conviction appeal. Note that, under the law, it does not matter if the exculpatory evidence was withheld by the state willfully, innocently, or accidentally. If the evidence was withheld or suppressed, that is sufficient to constitute a “Brady violation.”

To win a new trial or a post-conviction appeal, four matters must be shown. As noted, there must be evidence that is “favorable” to the defendant and the evidence must be withheld. Third, it must be shown that the exculpatory evidence was not available to the defendant through reasonable and diligent investigation. As Maryland criminal courts have said, the Brady rule does not relieve the defendant from the obligation to investigate the case and prepare for trial. In addition, it must be shown that the exculpatory evidence would have likely changed the outcome of the trial, reduced the charges or, at least, led to a reduction in sentencing. That is, the evidence must be of such a nature that, had it not been withheld, there is a “reasonable probability” that the suppressed evidence would have produced a different outcome.

Contact Waldorf, Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Robert Castro Today

This article has been provided by the Law Office of Robert Castro. For more information or questions contact our office to speak to an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer at (301)705-5137. We are Waldorf, MD Criminal Defense lawyers. Our address is: 2670 Crain Highway, Waldorf, MD 20601.