Friday, February 26, 2010

Lying cop comes clean and WTF are "Brady Cops"?

Somehow our story that started with a simple mortgage fraud case has morphed into a convoluted tale that ranges from the sloppy investigative skills of the lead detective on a headline mortgage fraud case to the less than stellar performance from a "veteran" prosecutor.  Its saddening to see cops and prosecutors misbehaving as its these very people that have sworn an oath to uphold the laws that govern the citizenry, its that much more disheartening when they are the ones on the wrong side of the law.  I came across this article regarding a veteran police officer from New Orleans that was accused of shooting six people and killing two that were searching for food during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  From the article...
Michael Lohman, a 21-year veteran of the force, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice. Prosecutors said Lohman and other unidentified officers conspired to fabricate witness statements, falsify reports of the incident and plant a gun in an attempt to make it appear the killings were justified.
Simply unforgivable, yet the terms "fabricating witness statements" and "falsify reports of the incident" aren't foreign to us or Detective Baluja now are they?  What are we left with if we can't trust the very cops whose job it is to protect and serve the citizenry?  If a cops got a history of lying or "bending the truth", can he possibly be of any use as a police officer?  Cops that have a history of lying are known as "Brady Cops", that name comes from a landmark Supreme Court case from 1963 called Brady v. Maryland.  From what we've been able to glean from this case, apparently a prosecutor is required to disclose to the defendent and their attorneys if a law enforcement officer involved in their case has a record of knowingly lying in their official capacity.  That's interesting isn't it?  I think we've illustrated more than enough evidence of Detective Baluja being somewhat less than honest haven't we?  I wonder if any such disclosures were made regarding Detective Baluja during any of the cases he's been involved in?

 This "Brady Rule" has another critical component as well, from the definition:

  1. Duty to Disclose: The landmark decision of Brady v Maryland (1963) places an affirmative constitutional duty on a prosecutor to disclose exculpatory evidence to a defendant. This duty has been extended to police agencies through case law, requiring law enforcement agencies to notify the prosecutor of any potential exculpatory information.
  2. Exculpatory Evidence/Brady Material: Evidence in the government’s possession that is favorable to the accused and that is material to either guilt or punishment, including evidence that may impact the credibility of a witness.

No kidding?  What if you're stuck in a situation with a prosecutor like Mr. Kostrzewski who likes to play hide and go seek with the evidence?  We find this document that we found in the Bernardo Barrera Mortgage Fraud case file most interesting...


The fourth motion to compel the state to produce discovery?  Nice!  From the same motion...

"Despite repeated requests and multiple court orders, the state has failed to provide Mr. Martinez's statements...."  
Why?  There's more of the same throughout this motion, we find this quote most notable...
"The states lackluster effort in complying with its discovery obligations is delaying the discovery process and delaying the defense investigation."
So what kind of nonsense is this?  From what we've seen in the case file, it looks like ASA Bill Kostrzewski has been playing hide and go seek with evidence for well over a year, what gives here?  Aren't the defendants in this case entitled to this evidence?  What happened to due process?  What kind of games are being played here?  Is this the cowardly strategy employed by inept prosecutors who try to drag cases on for years on end in hope that the defendants will throw their hands up and cut a plea?  If so, that's a really $hitty strategy Bill, unfair, unethical and immoral.  We'll leave off with a guest commentators opinion of Mr. Kostrzewski's behavior in this case...

Have a great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. All you have to do is subpoena the prosecutor and lead detectives emails.