A previously undisclosed email
between former Harris County prosecutor Dan Rizzo and former Houston Police
Department Officer Breck McDaniel is being released Friday to lawyers
representing Alfred Dewayne Brown in a civil rights lawsuit against Harris
County. The email is new evidence in the civil case brought by Brown, whose
criminal case was dismissed in 2015.
Brown spent nearly 10 years on death
row until the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 2014 determined that he should
get a new trial due to a Brady violation, specifically the prosecutor’s
failure to disclose a phone record that could have been used by Brown at trial
to corroborate his alibi defense.
At the time Brown’s conviction was
challenged, the prosecution and defense agreed the failure to disclose the
phone records was “inadvertent.” The new evidence suggests, however, that
well before Brown’s trial, Rizzo was informed about the existence of the
records, yet failed to disclose or provide them to the defense counsel or the
jury. Without access to actual records, the defense was unable to use
them in Brown’s defense.
The Texas Disciplinary Rules of
Professional Conduct require that “the appropriate disciplinary authority”
shall be informed when a lawyer becomes aware that another lawyer has
“committed a violation of applicable rules of professional conduct that raises
a substantial question as to the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness
as a lawyer in all other respects.”
Accordingly, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office will notify the State
Bar of Texas of the newly discovered evidence so that it may investigate the
prosecutor’s professional conduct while handling the Brown case.
Since Brown has sued the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in the
pending civil rights case, no further statements will be made at this time.
READ EMAIL HERE
County District Attorney’s Office