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Name: People v. Uribe
Case #: H030630
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/19/2008
Summary

The suppression, either willfully or inadvertently, by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused violates due process where the evidence is material to guilt or punishment, i.e., evidence that is exculpatory to the defendant or damaging to the prosecution. Any evidence known to others acting on the government’s behalf is imputed to the prosecution. (Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83.) Appellant was convicted at jury trial of several counts of the sexual abuse of his 11-year-old granddaughter and sentenced to two 15-years-to life terms plus a determinate sentence. Critical evidence at the trial concerned the sexual abuse examination of the child, as testified to by the nurse who performed the examination and the director of the medical center where the examination took place. The defense expert contested the findings of the examination, in part, relying on a photograph of the examination provided by the prosecution. Following the conviction, the defense learned that there was a video of the examination that had not been provided them, despite a request for discovery, and made a motion for a new trial. The trial court denied the motion, concluding that there was no Brady violation because the nurse was not part of the prosecution team within the meaning of Brady. The appellate court found that the video was favorable to the defense and that the medical center was part of the “prosecution team,” such that the prosecution had an obligation to turn the video over to the defense. In evaluating the entire case, with consideration to the impact of the omitted video, the court’s confidence in the outcome of the trial was undermined to such an extent that it ordered the judgment reversed and the matter remanded for a new trial.