People v. Kasim

In People v. Kasim (1997) 56 Cal.App.4th 1360, the prosecutor suppressed material exculpatory evidence about the credibility of two important prosecution witnesses, one of whom was the only one to have personal knowledge of defendant's involvement in the crime and to have witnessed commission of the crime. Both before and during the trial, the defense made repeated discovery requests for information regarding promises, inducements, and threats regarding those witnesses. The prosecutor represented there were no deals, and at trial the witnesses testified "that no deals had been made for their testimony other than that they would be charged and the district attorney's office would be fair." After trial, the defense counsel learned those witnesses had received numerous benefits, and that the prosecutor had assisted one of the witnesses avoid deportation. The appellate court reversed the defendant's conviction, holding the prosecutor's failure to disclose evidence regarding benefits the witnesses received constituted prosecutorial misconduct and a due process violation under Brady. The court concluded the suppressed exculpatory evidence was material because the witnesses were of paramount importance to the prosecution's case and the results of the trial depended in large part on the witnesses' credibility. (Kasim, supra, 56 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1367-1369, 1372-1373, 1382-1384.)