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Prosecutors disclose internal affairs investigation of officer involved in Idaho college murders case

Four Dead University of Idaho
Posted at 6:26 AM, Mar 30, 2023

Latah County prosecutors have disclosed an "internal affairs" investigation of a police officer involved in the case against the man accused of killing four University of Idaho students, according to court documents filed on Monday. The investigation was disclosed as "potential Brady/Giglio material," the court filings said.

A protective order was filed on Monday sealing the contents of the disclosure, which would not be released to the public unless authorized by the court, filings said.

In the landmark Brady decision, the Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors must provide exculpatory information to defense counsel. Under Giglio, the Supreme Court ruled prosecutors must disclose certain information that could call a witness' credibility into question, such as promises of immunity or reduced charges and sentences.

The admission that an officer involved in the investigation of Bryan Kohberger, who has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and felony burglary in connection with the fatal stabbings, is being investigated could potentially affect the criminal proceedings, although it is unclear how significant the disclosure is since the information was sealed by the court.

Because the details of the investigation are sealed, it is not clear who the officer involved is or how central to the case they are. It is also unclear why they were being investigated.

Nationwide, some prosecutors and law enforcement agencies keep "Brady Lists" of officers who can be excluded from testimony or investigations for reasons that could deem them untrustworthy.

Idaho keeps a statewide record database for police, corrections and other law enforcement officers who have been decertified under the Brady/Giglio rulings, maintained by the Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training division. These infractions can range from lying, code of ethics violations, inappropriate relationships and misdemeanor and felony convictions. Since 2015, there have been 396 officers placed on the list, according to the online database.

Defense attorneys can appeal a guilty verdict if they weren't notified about the information in time, according to a report by the American College of Trial Lawyers. Law enforcement officers "make judgments about matters that they deem irrelevant," the report says, the prosecutor needs to make sure they review documents considered "no-pertinent" and disclose them to the defense.

Kohberger has yet to enter a plea and he is waiting to learn whether prosecutors in the high-profile case will pursue the death penalty. He has a preliminary hearing that is scheduled for June 26.