The ACLU of Vermont has compiled a database of all Brady letters written by Vermont's state's attorneys. In 2022, we submitted public records requests to each state's attorney office and have uploaded copies of the letters we received. Below, you will find more information about Brady letters and a link to the database.
What is a Brady Letter?
A 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case, Brady v. Maryland, established a requirement that prosecutors uncover and disclose to defense counsel if a police officer involved in a case has lied or committed acts that undermine their credibility.
In Vermont, when Brady-related issues arise – like an officer exhibiting bias or getting caught lying – state's attorneys generally send a “Brady letter” to their county's criminal defense attorneys noting that the officer has known credibility issues. This information may then be raised by defense counsel to call into question the reliability of the officer involved in the case. In some instances, state’s attorneys will also decline to prosecute future cases brought by the officer.
Brady letters are essential for the overall fairness of the criminal legal system and as a police accountability measure – but there is no centralized mechanism for reporting or tracking these disclosures in Vermont. In some states, central databases called Brady Lists are maintained and made accessible to all elected prosecutors in a particular state, or even to the general public.
Why did we publish these letters?
In the absence of a centralized database for reporting and tracking dishonest officers, the ACLU has made this information available for the public to understand the role of state's attorneys in holding police officers accountable for their misconduct, and to highlight the need for more transparency and oversight, and so that prosecutors, policymakers, and the public are aware of credibility concerns that have been raised about sworn law enforcement officials in our state.
This database will be updated periodically.
Database of Letters (Updated June 8, 2022)
Below you will find a screenshot of the database. To view the full list, click the image or link below.
How many letters has your state's attorney's office written?
Given that Brady letters are one of the few mechanisms we have for holding police accountable for their misconduct, and since only one out of fourteen state’s attorneys (Washington County) has a Brady policy, it's critical that Vermonters understand the extent to which their state's attorneys are upholding their constitutional responsibilities and providing appropriate notifications to defendants and the public.
Check to see how many letters your state’s attorney has written and be sure to ask anyone running to be your elected prosecutor about their commitment to this important responsibility.