Charges of a Baltimore police officer’s past or present misconduct will now be available at trial, a State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) press release announced Friday.
If an Internal Affairs (IA) file of such charges exists, officers testifying in court must provide it with or without SA prompting, the release continues.
“Officers will have to relay this information to the ASA at the earliest opportunity, whether or not the misconduct issues have been resolved,” the release said.
To coordinate between SAO and the Baltimore Police Department (BPD), a new Baltimore City Law Department Criminal Liaison will assess and satisfy SAO requests for full records within 48 hours.
As part of the process, an electronic copy is to be delivered directly to the Assistant State’s Attorney handling the case and these officer witnesses.
These IA files, because they may exonerate or even potentially exonerate the defendant, must be delivered to the defense during discovery as determined in the 1963 Supreme Court opinion Brady v. Maryland.
“Our hope is that this new process, not only streamlines the process for disclosing IA files, but also lends itself to more transparency within our local criminal justice system and processes,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby in the same release. “These changes should relieve some of the burden on the court to resolve IA file disputes between my agency and the defense bar, as well as make these files accessible more quickly.”
This announcement and new practice comes just days after new Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner was compelled by court order to release a list of 29 Philadelphia police officers forbidden to testify in court. The “secret” list named officers known, suspected or alleged to be corrupt.
Krasner’s predecessor, R. Seth Williams, the author of the Philadelphia list, is currently serving a five-year sentence after pleading guilty to one charge of corruption and admitting to the underlying facts of 28 other similar charges.