Dybdahl chronicles the evolution of the Brady rule from its unexpected birth to the legal challenges that left it defanged and ineffective.
- Title: When Innocence Is Not Enough: Hidden Evidence and the Failed Promise of the Brady Rule
- Author: Thomas L. Dybdahl L’98
- Publisher: The New Press
- Publication Date: January 31, 2023
The Brady rule was meant to transform the justice system. But reality intervened. The opinion was poorly reasoned. Its claims to precedent were dubious at best. It clashed with the foundations of the legal system. Those flaws would be Brady’s undoing.
This work of narrative nonfiction details the promise and shortcomings of Brady through deft storytelling and attention to crucial cases, focusing on the infamous 1984 murder of Catherine Fuller in Washington, D.C. Eight young Black men were sent to prison for life after the prosecutor, afraid of losing the biggest case of his career, hid evidence that would have proven their innocence.
The book chronicles the evolution of the Brady rule from its unexpected birth to the legal challenges that left it defanged and ineffective. But it ends by pointing a path toward promising reform efforts that offer a blueprint for a legislative revival of Brady’s true spirit.
Dybdahl discussed his book with Christina Swarns L’93, Executive Director of the Innocence Project, at an event hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School’s Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice on March 22, 2023: