DA Keeps "Dishonest Cops" List

Some call it a black list. Others say it is like wearing a "scarlet letter"

By Tony Shin
|  Wednesday, May 18, 2011  |  Updated 6:56 AM PDT
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If you're a law enforcement officer in San Diego, the Brady Index is not a list you want to be on.  It's a list of local cops and deputies who are deemed

If you're a law enforcement officer in San Diego, the Brady Index is not a list you want to be on. It's a list of local cops and deputies who are deemed "not credible" by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. Tony Shin reports.

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If you're a law enforcement officer in San Diego, the Brady Index is not a list you want to be on. 

It's a list of local cops and deputies who are deemed "not credible" by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. 

"In order to be on the Brady List someone does not have to commit a crime, what they have to do is be found by the department to have committed an act of dishonesty," said former District Attorney Paul Pfingst.

Basically, if a law enforcement officer is caught lying or stealing, but not fired for the offense, he or she is then put in the Brady Index.

Officers and deputies who are put in the Brady Index are deemed by the DA to have "trust" and "honesty" issues.

"The practical problem for the officer being on the Brady list is that when that officer brings a case to the DA's office, it's looked at differently because the DA knows that officer has honesty problems that will be disclosed to the defense lawyer," Pfingst told NBCSanDiego.

Pfingst, who served eight years as District Attorney said he had seen defendants who should have gone to jail, get acquitted because an investigating officer was in the Brady Index.

"It can be used by defense attorneys in cross examination of the officer to show he is unworthy of belief," said Pfingst.

Deputy District Attorney Damon Mosler is the Chief of the Special Operations Division which handles the Brady Index.

"When an officer is in the Brady Index, it can pose as a special challenge in the successful prosecution of a major case," Mosler said.

So, why are these officers and deputies allowed to investigate cases and make arrests if they could jeopardize the outcome of a criminal case?

Pfingst said it would make sense that those law enforcement officers would be reassigned.

He said a lot of it comes down to officer rights, and police unions.   The DA also does not have the authority to tell police chiefs and sheriffs to take Brady Index officers and deputies off the street.

"The District Attorney's office has told police chiefs and supervisors 'It's best that you don't have this officer who's on the Brady List to bring the case' because we may reject it," Pfingst said.

Prosecutors said there are about 30 local law enforcement officers in the Brady Index but only about a dozen are active officers.  The others have retired or quit and remain on the list.

Pfingst has represented officers who have tried to get their names off the list.  He said once you are put on, it is difficult to get off. 

"I've seen officers who have been on the list for more than ten years," he said.

Police sources said about a month ago a representative from the DA's office spoke to San Diego Police officers about the list, and warned them not to make any mistakes and end up on it. 

SDPD is under intense scrutiny because of multiple recent incidents of alleged officer misconduct.

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