Violating the Brady Rule: The Mistake that Granted Brad Jennings a Second Chance

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– After being suspected of shooting his wife Lisa to death in 2006, Brad Jennings was tested for gunshot residue.  His hands tested negative and the robe he was wearing on the night of his wife’s death, also tested negative.

Jennings was still convicted.

Almost a decade later, a defense attorney hired by the then imprisoned Brad Jennings would discover the negative gunshot residue test, the one done on Jennings robe, never made it to court. 

On Wednesday, the highway patrol investigator who called for the test says he didn’t know the results existed. 

In 2017, a judge would claim the lack of that evidence qualified as a violation of the Brady Rule, a Supreme Court mandate dating back to 1963 requiring the prosecution to share all evidence possibly pointing to innocence with a suspect’s defense team.

The judge’s decision would be enough to turn back Jennings conviction, making him eligible for retrial with all the evidence included, later this year.

“It’s not a discretion type thing. It’s mandatory,” says Springfield-based defense attorney Adam Woody. 

While he’s not involved in the Jennings case, Woody does have experience in similar courtrooms. 

“It’s the obligation of the prosecutors to acquire that information if the police have it,” he explains.

According to Woody, a Brady Rule violation of this stature is rare. He says possibly rare enough to call in to question the intentions of the investigators who neglected the evidence.

He also says, with the crucial evidence now available, there’s no telling if a retrial will even ever happen.

“There’s a chance that if the government had this information that they wouldn’t have pursued the charge in the first place. I guess we’ll find out in the next 120 days,” he adds.

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