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Giglio is becoming a problem
One of the more recent problems police officers have encountered is the concept of being found incredible or to have lied before a judge. While nobody is suggesting that we should
lie, and officers who intentionally present
false testimony should be punished, the anti-police crowd have found yet another avenue to destroy police officers. Once a
judge rules that your testimony is false, you
will be placed on a disclosure list for all future cases, and essentially your credibility will be chal-
lenged at every court hearing for the rest of your career. You are damaged goods to the State. We have written about it before, and it bears revisiting the perils of testimony in this climate.
John Giglio’s name will live in legal history forever, as his is the seminal case involving the duty of prosecutors to disclose evidence of a witness’s seedy past or current deal. Mr. Giglio was indicted for fraud in that he was able to get signature cards from customers of a bank and remove money from their accounts. While Cook County would find this type of behavior to be a product of poor John’s upbringing, back in 1966 this was actual- ly looked upon as a crime that should have consequences. The United States Attorney was able to meet with the bank teller of Manufacturers Hanover Trust, who was the inside man in that he gave Giglio the signature cards that started this caper. The U.S. attorneys were able to convince the bank teller to provide testimony against Giglio in exchange for not being prosecuted
for any crimes. The problem was, they failed to inform Giglio’s counsel that the deal had been struck. The case went to trial, and Giglio was found guilty and sentenced to five years in federal prison. Ouch. I would suggest he find a better oc- cupation or at least a loyal accomplice. Giglio appealed, and the issue before the United States Supreme Court was what exactly should the prosecution disclose to the
defense to protect the defendant’s due process rights. The Supreme Court took a very wide approach to dis- closure and essentially said “everything.” In its ruling, the court ruled that the failure of the prosecutors to disclose that a material witness had been offered leniency in exchange for testimony was a due process violation. U.S. v. Giglio, 405 U.S. 150 (1971) The court simply ruled that “[w]hen the ‘reliability of a given witness may well be determinative of guilt or innocence’ nondisclosure of evidence affecting credibility” would be a due process violation. Evidence that would not have changed the outcome does not automatically require a new trial, and there must first be “[a] finding of materiality of the evidence.” The United States Supreme Court reaffirmed this approach in U.S. v. Bagley, 473 U.S. 667 (1995) when the United States Attorney suppressed evidence favorable to the accused upon request. This suppression was a due process violation where the evi- dence was found to be material to either guilt or punishment. The Illinois Supreme Court has also followed in lockstep with the approach taken by the United States Supreme Court. In Peo- ple v. Beaman, 229 Ill.2d 56 (2008), the court held that disclosure
  The Law Firm of Grace & Thompson Specializes in Representing Chicago Police Officers
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