Defendants have the right to receive certain papers, recordings, photographs, and other evidence held by the prosecution and law enforcement in a criminal proceeding. This is usually accomplished through the discovery procedure. The prosecution turns over evidence to the defense during discovery. The prosecution may also request discovery from the defense in specific cases.
Keep reading to learn more about this and then contact Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857 if you require a free legal consultation.
In a criminal proceeding, the prosecution is required to give the defendant what are known as “Brady papers.” Brady materials include any evidence that is relevant to the defendant’s guilt, innocence, or punishment. If the prosecutor fails to give over any of these evidence, the case may be dismissed.
In some cases, a qualified criminal defense lawyer may find that the prosecution has not given over all evidence in your case, or that the prosecution may have material in its hands that could be useful to your defense. If the prosecution refuses to voluntarily give you with the necessary information in these cases, your Riverside criminal defense lawyer may file a motion to compel.
The motion to compel
In a criminal case, a motion to compel is a formal request to the judge to interfere in the pre-trial discovery process and require the government to hand over evidence that it intends to use at trial. Penal Code Sections 1054 to 1054.10 govern discovery in California. In a criminal trial, the prosecution is required by Penal Code Section 1054(e) to provide the following information to the defendant:
- The names and addresses of witnesses who the prosecutor plans to call at trial.
- All defendants’ statements.
- All relevant real evidence seized or obtained throughout the course of the investigation into the charges.
- Any material witness whose credibility is anticipated to be critical to the trial’s outcome.
- Any proof that could be used to exonerate you.
- Written or recorded statements of witnesses or reports of witness statements that the prosecutor intends to call at the trial, as well as any reports or statements of experts made in connection with the case, such as the results of physical or mental examinations, scientific tests, experiments, or comparisons that the prosecutor intends to offer in evidence at the trial.
You may bring a motion to compel if the prosecutor fails to do so
Consider the following scenario: you’ve been accused of sexually assaulting a minor, a friend’s daughter. You are aware, however, that this little girl frequently spends unsupervised time with an uncle who has previously been accused of sexually abusing a minor. The uncle could be a credible “other suspect” in this case. A skilled criminal defense attorney will almost certainly file a motion to compel discovery in order to collect the uncle’s arrest records and other material. A court may determine that you are entitled to it under the California Penal Code because it is exculpatory evidence — that is, evidence that helps to demonstrate your innocence.
To request a free legal consultation contact Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857.