Prosecution Turning Over Evidence
Watch this video about the prosecution turning over evidence during a court case. Then, contact our Phoenix criminal defense lawyer today.
What evidence does the prosecution have to turn over?
We get a number of questions regarding evidence in criminal cases, and naturally, there is a suspicion on behalf of defendants that the prosecutor is not dealing evenhandedly with them and that they’re possibly withholding evidence or not turning over everything or there’s some issue with evidence. We always get questions about what evidence a prosecutor has to turn over. There are some misconceptions out there. Both defense lawyers and prosecutors have misconceptions about what we call Brady obligations, which come from a 1963 case, Brady vs. Maryland, about what evidence the prosecutor has to turn over.
Here are a few misconceptions. There’s a misconception that prosecutors only have to turn over exonerating evidence, and that misconception is false. The prosecutor has to turn over all evidence that is in their possession. Another misconception is that only Brady evidence in the hands of a prosecutor has to be turned over to defense. That’s a misconception as well. It’s not only Brady evidence that they have. In fact, there’s several case laws out there that say prosecutor has to seek out all evidence. The prosecutor does not get to be the construct of a criminal proceeding. They have to pursue all leads, interview all witnesses that even may potentially have exculpatory evidence, especially if a defense counsel or a defendant says hey, I think there’s some exculpatory evidence over here. The prosecutor is \bound by case law to go and seek these things out.
Another misconception is that evidence that falls under Brady can be given to the defense on the day of trail. That’s false. They have to give you enough time to analyze the evidence so that you can craft a sustainable defense. Remember, in the United States of America, you enjoy the presumption of innocence until you are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Another misconception is that prosecutors do not have to look for Brady material. They must turn it over only if they come across it. Again, that’s simply not true. They have to look for evidence everywhere, even if it is exculpatory. They don’t have good evidence, so they write reports in such a way to where it’s slanted against defendants. It’s against the law. They have to go search out Brady material.
Then lastly, there’s a misconception that prosecutors are never required to turn over their handwritten notes because these notes are privileged and considered work product. That’s absolutely false. That is a part of Brady material. If any of these misconceptions are in your mind, you need to talk to your attorney very quickly. Get a competent attorney because there is evidence that could be being withheld whether knowledgeably or in bad faith or knowingly being withheld from you that you are entitled to have to prove your innocence in your criminal case. Call us. Let’s get all of the evidence because the effectiveness of your defense is going to rise and fall on the evidence that you submit. Call someone quickly so that you can raise a sustainable defense.
Have you or a loved one been involved in a criminal defense case and have questions about prosecution turning over evidence? Contact experienced Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorneys at Smith & Green today for a legal consultation.
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