What Is a ''Brady Violation'' ?

A Brady violation occurs when the State withholds or suppresses evidence that is: (1) favorable to the defense (because it was either exculpatory or impeaching) and; (2) material to the guilt or punishment of the defendant. Wilson v. State , 363 Md. 333, 346, 768 A.2d 675 (2001). If the alleged Brady violation pertains to the failure to disclose favorable evidence, the evidence is "material" if "there is a reasonable probability that, had the evidence been disclosed to the defense, the result of the proceeding would have been different." Id. at 347 . The Court of Appeals has interpreted the "reasonable probability" standard to mean a "substantial possibility that . . . the result of [the] trial would have been any different." In Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), the Supreme Court held that "the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused . . . violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution." 373 U.S. at 87.