When law enforcement doesn't play by the rules, it erodes faith in our justice system

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To the Editor:

For those in law enforcement, the word "Brady" is considered the kiss of death. It means you are on a list held by the district attorney’s office because something happened in your career indicating your integrity was questionable. In terms of testifying, 99 percent of the time the district attorney’s office will do anything to not let that officer on the witness stand. Doing so may mean disclosing the witnesses’ past untruthfulness.

In early December, a trial was held in Orange County regarding a Newburgh home invasion. A police officer who was subpoenaed was on the Brady list. The district attorney’s office, already facing claims of prosecutorial misconduct in the trial, kept that to themselves in their attempt to secure a conviction. In this case, a vicious felony assault was knocked down to tampering with evidence.

Law enforcement/district attorneys should remember that when they don’t play by the rules. It erodes faith in a justice system that we are told to blindly trust. Someday it could be you or someone you love facing an overzealous prosecutor that is more concerned with their conviction record than what is right. That’s why we need criminal justice reform.

Roger Roth

New York, N.Y.

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