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Exculpatory evidence is the evidence favorable to the defendant in a criminal trial, which clears or tends to clear the defendant of guilt. It is the opposite of inculpatory evidence, which tends to prove guilt.
In many countries such as the United States, police or prosecutor must disclose to the defendant any exculpatory evidence they possess. Failure to disclose can result in the dismissal of a case.
In the Brady v. Maryland decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that such a requirement follows from constitutional due process and is consistent with the prosecutor's duty to seek justice.