Thursday, May 19, 2011

Reciprocal discovery would only harm defendants

Wouldn't it be great to have a laundry list of items that the state is required to produce prior to trial?

No more drafting discovery motions to get any recorded statements made by your client or anyone else the state intends to call at trial. No more drafting discovery motions to get a listing of any prior convictions for your client. No more drafting discovery motions to obtain search warrants, affidavits and returns. No more drafting discovery motions to obtain a list of expert witnesses the state intends to call. No more drafting discovery motions to get your hands on those experts' reports.

Sounds pretty damn good, doesn't it?

That is if you don't mind giving the prosecutor any written statements you client made, any information you have about his criminal record, a list of evidence you plan to introduce at trial, the names of your expert witnesses and any written reports they may have produced.

Reciprocal discovery only sounds like a good idea to the civil attorneys who are trying to find a way to replace their income after tort reform and attorneys who are too damn lazy to do any work on a case outside of standing alongside their client as they accept the state's latest offer.

The proposed legislation makes a mockery out of the 5th Amendment's protection against self-incrimination, emasculates the presumption of innocence and lowers the state's burden of proof.


Mo said...

MD already has reciprocal discovery. I (in my ignorance) assumed that was par for the course...

Paul B. Kennedy said...

Thank you for your comment.

My main problem with reciprocal discovery is that it requires the defense to produce when it is the state's burden to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt.

Why should I be required to turn over anything to the people who are attempting to convict my client?

We have tools at our disposal to obtain information - we don't need to sacrifice our clients' rights in order to obtain that information.