When Officer James Beasley resigned from the Phoenix Police Department, his record of misconduct did not follow him to his new agency.
His subsequent name change, the same as that of an infamous movie gangster, only further darkened his record.
James Beasley is now Michael Corleone.
While his change of identity draws attention, an ABC15 investigation found that his record on the Maricopa County ‘Brady’ list was never disclosed to defendants in dozens, and likely hundreds, of cases after he began work for the Pascua Yaqui Police Department.
The situation highlights the continued impact of gaps in Arizona’s “Brady” lists.
It also shows that law enforcement agencies still do not understand their constitutional obligations at a fundamental level.
“It’s not serious (for police and prosecutors),” said Ben Rundall, a civil rights attorney with the ACLU Arizona. “It’s a game. In this case, it’s almost like that cup game. And hopefully, you take the right cup and you can find that misconduct.”
In 2005, then-Officer Beasley resigned amid an internal investigation by the Phoenix Police Department, records show.
“He failed to complete 19 reports in a timely manner and in an attempt to rectify the situation made false statements to his supervisor,” according to a summary of the investigation.
The findings would place Beasley on the Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office Rule 15 Disclosure List, more commonly known as the “Brady” list.
In 1963, the US Supreme Court in Brady v. Maryland ruled that police and prosecutors cannot withhold exculpatory evidence, including past instances of dishonesty and other misconduct by officers.
That evidence is known as “Brady” material.
In 2007, Beasley went to work for the police department on the Pascua Yaqui reservation, located southwest of Tucson, where he worked until 2017.
During his decade with the tribe, officials claimed they did not know about his placement on Maricopa County’s ‘Brady’ list and therefore never disclosed the material to defendants in their cases.
“Specifically of Mr. Corleone (Beasley), the Tribe confirms that he was a law enforcement employee, did not disclose Brady’s issues when hired or requested, and resigned in 2017,” according to a statement sent by the Chief Prosecutor Pascua Yaqui. Malena Acosta.
ABC15 also checked with federal and county prosecutors, as those offices often handle high-level crimes on the reservation.
The Pima County District Attorney’s Office also did not have James Beasley or Michael Corleone on its “Brady” list.
He was involved in more than 50 cases with PCAOs, according to statistics obtained by ABC15 through a public records request.
As for the US Attorney’s Office, a spokesperson said: “We do not keep records to track the information you are seeking.”
“It is the responsibility of every law enforcement agency, whether it is a tribal nation or a municipal entity, to double check and confirm that every officer they hire has no history of misconduct,” Rundall said. “And let’s be clear, history of misconduct doesn’t necessarily mean this employee shouldn’t be an officer. But what it means is that this is material that people arrested by this officer will have the right to access. That is their constitutional right.”
Beasley officially changed his name to Michael Corleone in 2011.
The name change was reported to the Arizona Peace Officer Training and Standards Board, but not to the Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office.
His entry on the MCAO “Brady” list is still under his former name.
Corleone did not respond to multiple requests for comment sent to his phone, email, social media accounts and address.
Contact ABC15 Lead Researcher Dave Biscobing at [email protected]