Court.

Oregon district attorneys keep lists of officers they think are untrustworthy, and being “Brady listed,” as it’s called, is considered a potential career-ender in law enforcement.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision Brady v. Maryland, and subsequent rulings, require district attorneys to show defense attorneys evidence that could exonerate a client. This has been interpreted to include evidence that could impeach police witnesses, such as official findings of dishonesty.

But interpretation is not uniform across the country, or even Central Oregon, where seven officers are officially Brady listed.

Strong ethics are important because law enforcement officers are in “positions of public trust,” Eriks Gabliks, head of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, told The Bulletin.

“The truthfulness of our police officers is paramount because of the work they do and the authority they are given by the community for which they work,” he said.

Jefferson County District Attorney Steve LeRiche told The Bulletin there are several former officers in his county he wouldn’t call as witnesses, but since they aren’t currently employed in law enforcement, he doesn’t keep their names on a formal list. He could not provide a tally of officers who could not be counted on to tell the truth.

Central Oregon’s other district attorneys keep lists. Crook County District Attorney Wade Whiting said his list has three names.

Former officer Bryan Burton was found to be untruthful and is no longer employed by the Prineville Police Department. Same with Adam Castile, who no longer works for the Crook County Sheriff’s Office. Chris Estes is still employed by the county sheriff but has been reassigned as a probation officer.

In late December, Whiting added a fourth name when he determined former Prineville Police Sgt. Mark Monroe had been untruthful in two internal investigations.

In the first, Monroe was investigating a subordinate and he failed to disclose he was in a sexually intimate relationship with a material witness in the investigation.

The second investigation focused on Monroe’s conduct in the first, finding he deliberately omitted information in his report and possibly fabricated evidence.

Whiting met with Monroe to give the sergeant a chance to explain his actions.

“Unfortunately, I am unable to change my mind regarding his ability to testify as a witness called by my office,” Whiting wrote to Prineville Police Chief Dan Cummins on Dec. 31.

Monroe took his own life on Feb. 17.

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel’s Brady list contains four names.

Bend Police officer Steve Craig was added in April 2018, Don Barber in November 2018 and Don Fain in April. All three no longer work for Bend Police.

Hummel found Craig had been “intentionally and maliciously deceptive” during internal investigations, agreeing with a decision by former Chief Jim Porter, who terminated Craig.

Craig is now employed as an officer for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

Barber was found to have filed sloppy paperwork containing at least 80 errors. Barber claimed he used his police dog in 54 instances in 2017, when the real number was 39. In two of those instances, he reported a person had been arrested based on his dog’s alert, but in fact, the drivers in those cases were cited with traffic violations and allowed to leave.

Hummel interviewed Barber for an hour and a half.

“I find your deception in the Brady hearing was intentional and malicious and had a direct nexus to your employment,” Hummel wrote to Barber. “As a result, you are disqualified from testifying as a witness in Deschutes County criminal cases.”

In light of this decision, Hummel dropped drug possession charges against a woman because Barber and his drug dog were involved in the case.

Fain was found to have lied in an internal investigation and in text messages to a case worker with the state Department of Human Services.

Fain declined to attend a Brady hearing with Hummel.

“I will never call you as a witness in a criminal trial,” Hummel wrote to Fain in April.

Hummel’s list also contains one “Tier 2” listing: Ryan Fraker of the Redmond Police Department. In this instance, the officer’s agency found him to be dishonest, but Hummel didn’t come to the same conclusion.

Fraker was involved in a high-speed chase near a school in 2019. His internal investigation concerns his report from this incident, specifically information he did not include. He told investigators he was instructed by his supervisor, Eric Beckwith, to not include this information. Beckwith denied he told Fraker to not include the information.

Redmond Police terminated Fraker but Hummel wrote to Fraker’s attorney that he found no evidence Fraker had lied.

“Because I find the evidence lacking, I am not disqualifying your client as a witness because of past untruthfulness,” Hummel wrote.

Fraker’s attorney, Dan Thennell, has called this an instance of police higher-ups misusing the Brady process to get a good officer fired.

A spokesman for Redmond Police Department said the agency “could not comment on the matter at this time.”

(Editor's note: The original story incorrectly identified Steve Craig's current place of employment. He works as an officer for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. The Bulletin regrets the error.) 

Reporter: 541-383-0325,

gandrews@bendbulletin.com

(2) comments

Michael Thornton

One aspect of D.A. Hummel's Brady List is noteworthy: there were no names reported for deputies (current or former) of the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office.

Indeed, the small numbers of officers on any of the central Oregon Brady Lists is worth celebrating -- regardless of inconsistencies, etc. Congratulations to our local peace officers.

CardiacSpike

I took the opportunity to attend former Sergeant Monroe’s memorial service in Prineville.

I sat with many, many of his friends and colleagues to include now retired BPD chief Jim Porter and retired DCSO sheriff Les Stiles.

For those who know the full details of Mark’s life accomplishments and its challenges, challenges that ultimately led to his suicide, we would agree there was no need to include him under the circumstances in this article.

As a family survivor of suicide, I have written of my personal experiences with this great sadness that affects so many – I offer this article to Mark’s family and friends and anyone else its narrative and sources for help might reach. It is titled “Transforming the Terrible Secret of Suicide”.

https://runningironreport.com/featured-guests/transforming-the-terrible-secret-of-suicide-by-greg-walker/

For anyone wanting to see who this young man, military veteran, community activist, and police officer was, this video tribute was shown at his memorial.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKn6T3Myeok

“Police officers are at a higher risk of suicide than any other profession. In fact, suicide is so prevalent in the profession that the number of police officers who died by suicide is more than triple that of officers who were fatally injured in the line of duty” and “A record number of current or former police officers died by suicide last year, according to Blue H.E.L.P…In 2019, 228 current or former officers died by suicide, compared with 172 in 2018, the group announced on Thursday.”

https://www.addictioncenter.com/news/2019/09/police-at-highest-risk-for-suicide-than-any-profession/

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/record-number-us-police-officers-died-suicide-2019/story?id=68031484

Otherwise Mr. Andrews’ article is timely and relevant. It begs the question of why current officers on Mr. Hummel’s list remain employed as sworn officers? And it indirectly points a steady finger at Oregon’s DPSST public record laundry list of officers facing de-certification…some still awaiting adjudication for over two years.

But that is another story, perhaps?

RIP, Mark, RIP.

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