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Gypsy Cops ~ Brady Cops: Is It Really a Good Policy to Keep Them On Duty?
We have heard a lot about inappropriate police responses and behaviors in the news over the past few months. Could it be that some of the cops involved were Gypsy cops? If they were not Gypsy cops, might they now be considered Gypsy cops by their departments because of their unprofessional actions and words?
What exactly is a “Gypsy Cop?”
Gypsy cops are police officers who are problematic. They have been dishonest in some way, or they have not acted professionally in every instance. They have misbehaved, failed to follow policies or procedures, or they have done or said something that put themselves, their departments, and/or prosecutions of alleged criminals in question.
The reason they are referred to as “Gypsy cops,” is because they are often moved from one department in the police department to another, never staying long in any one position.
Some peace officers are terminated for misbehavior or failing to follow department policies and procedures, but some are not. Rather than being terminated, they are moved from one position to another, usually because their offense(s) are not serious enough for termination, yet they are no longer trusted and their word on the witness stand can jeopardize a case.
If the only person who can testify as a witness, or who has obtained evidence against someone for alleged illegal activity is a Gypsy cop, chances are that case will be lost because their word and their credibility is in question. Most prosecutors would not take a chance on losing a case they have worked hard to put together by utilizing the testimony of a Gypsy cop.
That Leads to a Gypsy Cop’s Next Designation — Brady Cop
The definition of a Brady cop is pretty much the same as the definition of a Gypsy cop. She or he is a police officer whose words and or actions are not trusted to be correct, fair, honest, or in some cases legal. That is, the particular police officer in question has been known to lie and/or to ignore police department procedures — sometimes many times, and sometimes to the extent of breaking the law.
Again, if this is the only law enforcement professional that can verify evidence or give testimony against a person who has allegedly broken the law or committed a crime, chances are that any case brought by the county or city prosecutor will be lost on so-called technicalities. For that reason the prosecutor’s office will often not bring formal charges until they have more credible witnesses and/or evidence collected by a different officer.
Testimony from prisoners is acceptable in our court system, but not testimony from a Gypsy cop. I do not usually like to include my own opinion, but in this case, having observed the outcomes of several prosecutions, I will say that I do not believe the testimony of either prisoners, cell mates, Gypsy cops, or anyone who may have a stake in the outcome, should be acceptable. When I say a stake in the outcome, I mean prisoners and cell mates especially, who may get favors or cash for testifying against someone. It gives them an incentive to lie and so their testimony in my opinion, is tainted.
Basically any Gypsy Cop is also called a Brady cop. Most prosecutors keep a Brady List that has the names of all Gypsy cops on it because they do not want to build a case around the testimony of a Gypsy or Brady cop. The testimony of one of these cops will not be trusted and can be the cause of a case being thrown out of court or even having a verdict overturned.
The Brady List also includes the names of people who are not cops, or necessarily connected in any way to law enforcement. They are people whose credibility is not trusted for some reason
Where Did the Name Brady Cop Come From?
Sometimes procedures or new laws will stem from court cases where someone’s verdict was overturned in part or in whole because of a particular situation that may have prevented that person from receiving a fair trial. That is where the Brady List comes from.
In Brady v. Maryland (the small v. stands for versus), the prosecutor withheld certain information s/he had from the defendant’s attorney, and from the court. While the verdict was not overturned as a result of the court’s decision made without benefit of all the exculpatory evidence being furnished by the prosecutor(s) in the Brady v. Maryland case, the punishment of the convicted was modified.
Generally officers of the judicial system (judges, district attorneys, etc.) of a city, county, state, or the United States, do not like to go to all the work and expense of a trial only to have the verdict overturned, or a new trial ordered. That is the reason they go to great lengths to make sure their evidence is genuine and their witnesses credible.
There are always a few prosecutors around the country who have ambitions of moving up, perhaps to state or federal positions such as attorney general, senator, president, etc., and sometimes they will take risks in order to get a conviction that might not be easily attainable, or attainable at all, if all evidence is provided.
While it is supposed to be the duty of prosecutors to get to the truth of any crime as opposed to getting a conviction, most of the time the conviction is their goal at any cost. Of course they will argue that isn’t true because it makes them look greedy and dishonest, but sadly it is true, and that is why they will sometimes withhold exculpatory evidence that might give the defendant some advantage.
In the case of Brady v. Maryland, there was a murder where 2 men were involved. One of the men actually committed the murder while the other was present and witnessed the murder. Both were found guilty of murder, but because the one did not physically participate in carrying out the murder, his sentence was less. It would not have been the same if the withheld evidence had not come to light.
The evidence withheld in the Brady v. Maryland case was material in the sense that it made a difference in the punishment. It came to light because the defendant who did not physically participate in the murder challenged both the verdict and the sentence by taking his case to the Supreme Court.
No, he did not take his murder trial to the Supreme Court and basically have a retrial. What he did was to take a case to the Supreme Court stating that exculpatory evidence had been withheld by the prosecutor during his trial, and that it would have made a difference in the verdict and therefore in the punishment handed out, had the evidence been presented in court. He challenged the lower court’s decision.
An appeal to a higher court challenges a lower court’s decision on a specific basis. There are many reasons why a decision handed down by a court may be challenged in a higher court if one can afford to do so. The reason(s) one is taking a challenge (appeal) to the next court level must be spelled out and explained in the request for a hearing.
The Supreme Court determined that the verdict in Brady v. Maryland would have been no different had the evidence been produced. However, the court ruled that it would have made a difference in the punishment and so it was material to the punishment decision.
“‘The Supreme Court ruled that withholding exculpatory evidence violates due process "where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment,”’ (Wikipedia).
It has been determined that allowing a Brady Cop to testify or present evidence in a case is material to the outcome of the case. Given that Brady cops by definition lack credibility, it is generally considered unwise to allow them to testify in a court proceeding. If the judge or jury is informed of their position as a Gypsy or Brady cop, the case is likely to fail, and withholding that information is dishonest and a violation of the court.
If it were discovered that a Brady cop had testified without informing the court of his or her status, there could be many different ramifications depending on when that information was discovered. The officer of the court (prosecutor or defense attorney) who puts the Brady cop on the stand is the person responsible for informing the court in advance of so doing.
The phrase “Brady cop,” refers to the decision in the Brady v. Maryland case where withholding exculpatory evidence was ruled a violation of a defendant’s right to a fair trial and that all material evidence must be presented. Material evidence in this context does not mean physical evidence necessarily, but evidence that is of crucial importance to the case.
If it was acknowledged that the cop they put on the stand was not trustworthy and had been known to lie in the past, it would destroy their case to allow him or her to testify. If that information were withheld and discovered later it would be even worse, so rather than deal with all that putting a Brady cop on the stand entails, they just do not do it because doing so could mean having the verdict overturned, the punishment modified, a retrial ordered, or possibly a criminal set free.
So Brady cops and Gypsy cops are basically cops that cannot be utilized in a court proceeding, or any time a credible entity is required to testify to something, whether verbally or in writing. Their witness and/or testimony is meaningless if it is known they are Brady cops, and could do irreparable harm if the information regarding their status is withheld and discovered later.
What Do All Those BIG Legal Terms Mean?
Exculpatory evidence — is evidence favorable to the defendant in a criminal trial that exonerates or tends to exonerate the defendant of guilt. It is the opposite of inculpatory evidence, which tends to prove guilt, (Wikipedia).
Material evidence — the facts or issues of a case . . . that can significantly affect its conclusion or outcome, (Law Dictionary).
So what has all this to do with the subject? I was only explaining why some cops are referred to as Brady cops and how that name “Brady cop” came to be. It is based on the decision handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States in Brady v. Maryland.
Gypsy Cops are Never Identified to the Public but Do They Identify Themselves With Their Behavior?
What Do YOU Think?
Should Gypsy Cops or Brady Cops Remain On the Police Force
Why Are Gypsy and Brady Cops Retained?
The issue here, as this writer sees it, is why are there so many Gypsy or Brady cops on the payrolls and still on duty in police departments across this country? If these police officers cannot be trusted to carry out their responsibilities and duties in a professional way that follows procedures, and have proven time and again that is the case, why have they not been terminated to find other employment?
Gypsy or Brady cops have found to lie on interdepartmental reports and depositions. They have been known to use obscene language, to practice racism, and to abuse their power. They have been found to plant evidence or to lie about evidence. They have even been found in some cases to be involved in organized crime (drug dealing for one thing), or to be guilty of domestic violence against a spouse and/or children. Really, the list of possibilities for misbehavior are as many as there are Gypsy cops.
If there is proof that these ‘Gypsy cops’ are indeed guilty of one or more of the various offenses listed here, serious offenses that have been repeated, would it not make more sense to train someone new for the job? Perhaps if there were fewer Gypsy cops on our police forces across this country there would also be fewer accusations of police brutality. When video cameras are so prevalent it isn’t that hard to obtain proof.
It was a story in my local newspaper that inspired me to write about this subject. I had never heard either of the terms mentioned here before. I had a suspicion that some officers had a history of misbehavior of various types, but I did not know why they were being kept on in their respective police departments. I confess, I still do not know the answer to that.
The person reporting in my local paper said it was mostly small town police departments that were desperate to get certified officers because no one wanted to work for the lower wages and salaries they often paid and that they didn’t have the resources to make such exhaustive background checks before hiring someone. I understand the difficulty in finding people who are willing to accept the lower pay, but with today’s technology I find the argument of it being too difficult to do a thorough background check a little hollow.
Suggesting that only small towns have Brady cops doesn’t quite ring true to me either. It was admitted in my local newspaper story that in fact my city of 125,000 people employs Gypsy cops.
My purpose is to make sure as many people as possible know about this apparently common practice. Perhaps one of my readers has the information as to why this practice is so prevalent and could inform us all in a comment below — or write a hub response if that is preferable. I look forward to learning more about why Gypsy or Brady cops are still employed in government law enforcement.
Brady v. Maryland
Denton Record Chronicle