Brady and 'Possession of State': Criminal Background Search

A recent SC Supreme Court case discussed Brady violations in regards to evidence that could be used to impeach. In State v. Durant, one of the State’s witnesses had a prior criminal record that could have been used to impeach the witness. However, the defense did not know about these prior convictions because the State ran the wrong name and never knew of them either.


The Court first explains how a Brady violation occurs:


The Court explains that there are 4 requirements for a Brady violation: 1.) favorable to accused; 2.) in possession or known to State; 3.) suppressed by State; 4.) material.


Material means that “there is a reasonable probability that, had the evidence been disclosed to the defense, the result of the proceeding would have been different.Brady violations apply to both exculpatory and impeachment evidence.


The issue in this case for the Court was whether it was in the possession of or known to the State. The Court now holds that the State is required to find this criminal history information:



However, the Court found that the missing impeachment convictions were not “material” under the Brady standard.

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Daniel@everydayevidence.og

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