The Wasco County District Attorney’s Office has banned an officer with The Dalles Police Department from testifying during any future trials or court hearings due to past lies.
Officer Jeff Kienlen was added to the office’s Brady list because of “intentional and malicious deceptive conduct.”
In 2011, Kienlen went to a conference in Eugene, according to documents from the Wasco County District Attorney’s Office. He told his then chief he needed a city vehicle so he could stay with a cousin in Eugene, rather than in the same hotel room with another officer who he said he had conflicts with. But Kienlen didn’t have a cousin in Eugene. Instead, he used the city vehicle to drive back and forth to Salem and visit his then girlfriend.
“He was untruthful with his chief about why he was using the car,” Wasco County District Attorney Matthew Ellis said.
In January, days after officially taking over as the county’s new district attorney, Ellis said he found a decade-old disciplinary notice in a bottom desk draw of his predecessor, Eric Nisley.
The record, dated Feb. 17, 2011, stated Kienlen was demoted because he violated the police department’s truthfulness policy. He was still allowed to testify in court cases, however.
The disciplinary letter was never disclosed to defense attorneys as part of discovery in cases following the discipline, but should have been.
“Prosecutors have a constitutional and statutory duty to disclose exculpatory information, including potential impeachment information to defense attorneys,” Ellis said in a statement Tuesday.
The term Brady list is in reference to the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Brady v. Maryland. The court established that prosecutors have to turn over all material that could exonerate a defendant. A Brady list refers to a list kept by some prosecutors and police departments of officers who have had issues with truthfulness. Most are not allowed to testify in cases because it could compromise a prosecution.
“If you’re untruthful in your official capacity as a police officer, that absolutely needs to be considered as evidence in any case that officer is investigating,” Ellis told OPB in January.
Ellis said his office is reviewing 24 open cases connected to Kienlen. So far, they’ve had to dismiss eight misdemeanors. Ellis said a grand jury will need to rehear a felony where Kienlen testified. The other cases are still under review.
Ellis has also emailed several defense attorneys in The Dalles asking them to alert his office of any closed cases that may also need to be reviewed.
The Dalles Chief Pat Ashmore said the office isn’t commenting until it completes an internal review.