Tarrant County, Tx., District Attorney Sharen Wilson in Ft. Worth has sent disclosures to defense attorneys in thousands of criminal cases after discovering notes from past misdemeanor prosecutors that raised questions about the credibility of 16 officers and 3 breathalyzer operators, reports the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Wilson launched a massive review after she found binders with more than 6,000 handwritten notes entered by past misdemeanor prosecutors on pre-printed forms seeking their personal observations about officers who served as witnesses in prior misdemeanor trials. The forms, dated from 1993 to 2014, included an option of “Fudges: (Good/Bad)” under the section about testimony given during the trial. “In 19 of the forms, the officer (or operator) is said to have lied but not always on the stand,” Wilson said.
As a result, Wilson said her office has sent out about 4,000 Brady notices to defense attorneys who had a past or current criminal case in which the 19 officers and operators were in any way involved. Those cases could include felonies, she said. Under Brady disclosure, named for the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Brady v. Maryland, prosecutors must make available to the defense any exculpatory or impeaching information and evidence that is material to the guilt, innocence or punishment of a defendant. More recently, the Michael Morton Act also requires that Texas prosecutors share their files with the defense and keep records of the evidence they disclose.