The Second Department determined County Court properly vacated defendant’s conviction. The case against the defendant relied entirely on a statement taken by Detective Tavares. The prosecution did not turn over to the defense evidence alleging Detective Tavares had procured a false confession (leading to a federal lawsuit):
The People have an obligation to disclose exculpatory evidence in their possession that is favorable to the defendant and material to his or her guilt or innocence … . “The prosecutor’s duty to exchange Brady material extends to the disclosure of evidence that can be used to impeach the credibility of a witness for the People whose testimony may be determinative of the defendant’s guilt” … . In order to establish a Brady violation, a defendant must prove: (1) the evidence at issue is favorable to him or her, (2) the evidence was suppressed by the prosecution, either willfully or inadvertently, and (3) prejudice arose because the suppressed evidence was material … .
Here, the crucial evidence against the defendant at trial was his statement admitting to the shooting, taken by Detective Ronald Tavares. There was no physical evidence connecting the defendant to the crime, and the eyewitnesses could not identify him. Given the importance of Detective Tavares’ testimony in establishing the defendant’s guilt, the Supreme Court properly determined that evidence concerning allegations that he had procured a false confession in an unrelated matter involving two police officers, which led to an internal affairs investigation of those officers and a federal lawsuit against, among others, Detective Tavares, was favorable to the defense and material … . The evidence was responsive to a defense demand and there is a reasonable possibility that the outcome of the trial would have differed had the evidence been produced … . Furthermore, the defendant sufficiently established that the prosecutor had actual knowledge of the allegations against Detective Tavares and the related investigation in the unrelated matter … . People v Hubbard, 2015 NY Slip Op 07858, 2nd Dept 10-28-15