Thirty-three area officers on troubled list prosecutors must reveal to defendants
UPDATE as of 3/1/18: Following the publication of the story below, District Attorney Hillar Moore announced his office was making changes.
The Brady List refers to officers who have had issues with truthfulness. However, many of the officers on the list did not get in trouble for being untruthful. Moore said his office will keep a Brady list, but also maintain other lists for officers that have had issues like arrests or discipline for conduct unbecoming.
"The list was never kept to be aired and put out in the public, but to make sure we do our job," Moore said. "Officers had no idea that we had a list and kept up and they said I didn't know you had a list and why my name is on a list wanting to know legitimate questions. It's a matter of explaining why we do what we do."
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW:
BATON ROUGE- Thirty-three area law enforcement officers are on a questionable list that prosecutors are forced to reveal to defendants in criminal cases.
Known as a Brady List, it keeps a record of officers who are disciplined for lying, have been arrested or have had their integrity questioned. Bound by the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland, it shows there could be doubt cast on the officer who is testifying for the prosecution.
Among the names on the list locally are State Troopers, officers with the Baton Rouge Police Department, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's deputies and a Baker Police officer.
Some are no longer with their respective departments, but many are still working.
"The most important thing that an officer has is [there] credibility and integrity," Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission said. "If his or her integrity or credibility has come into question, you have to wonder why they are still employed."
Goyeneche is a law enforcement watchdog. He believes it's critical for the public to be able to see which law enforcement officers have been pinpointed as having problems in the past.
"Some departments employ policies that if you lie, you lose your job," Goyeneche said. "So, if you lie in a meaningful way in your capacity as a police officer, then that affects your credibility as a witness in court."
The list indicates some officers wrote false reports. Others lied about crashes, wearing bullet proof vests and at least one even lied about being at a crash scene when evidence proved otherwise. At least five law enforcement officers profiled in the past few years by the Investigative Unit are on the Baton Rouge Brady List.
In 2011, BRPD Officer Robert Schilling got a 15-day suspension for grabbing a woman by the hair and throwing her into a ditch. It was captured on dashcam video, and records indicate the city of Baton Rouge approved a $30,000 settlement for the woman.
In 2014, Alec Pirie resigned for neglecting his police unit with evidence inside. Weeds were growing all around it. He was placed on leave for violating department procedures.
Baton Rouge Police officer Charles Eddleman is listed, too. In 2016, Eloy Anzaldua said Eddleman threw him to the ground and left him beaten and battered. In a previous WBRZ report, it was revealed these allegations of assault were not Eddleman's first time being disciplined for bad behavior. Eddleman has since retired and pled no contest to aggravated battery. He received a three-year sentence which was suspended and will remain on probation for three years. Eddleman is scheduled to have a restitution hearing in April.
Most recently, a pair of officers were accused of having sex on the job. BRPD's Brad Bennett got caught in March of 2016. He was punished but is still on the job. We most recently profiled Michael Edwards on Halloween who also got caught having sex on duty. Edwards was suspended for 80 days.
District Attorney Hillar Moore started compiling the Brady List in 2015. Each year, he sends out a letter to law enforcement agencies asking for any disciplinary issues.
"It's constitutionally required, just like any witness that would be called to the stand we would have to give any information that would be favorable to the defendant," Moore said.
According to the district attorney and his office that has compiled the list, most of the officers have already been disciplined by the agencies that employ them.
"Should they be held to a higher standard, it depends on the department," Moore said. "It depends on the protocol. Here we have civil service. You have union rules and the different chiefs of police abide by the rules and make the decisions based on that."
Even though some officers who are on the Brady List aren't there for dishonesty, they were flagged when they got in trouble for other reasons.
"It's a United States Supreme Court case," Moore said. "Any information we have that we would come into contact with that is favorable to the defendant for guilt, innocence, or for sentencing, we are required to turn that over."
A defendant is notified about the list if it is germaine to their specific case.
Goyeneche questioned why officers on the list are still employed: "Why are some of these officers who have these blemishes on their administrative files, why are they still employed as police?"
Moore countered, many of the law enforcement officers on the list are good people who made bad decisions.
Other area district attorneys said they don't maintain a Brady List.