DISCOVERY is the process of finding out important facts about your case from your adversary. DISCOVERY allows you to discover witness names, addresses and phone numbers. DISCOVERY gives you access to police photos and laboratory reports including DNA. DISCOVERY can allow you access to witness statements. DISCOVERY takes place before trial. Once you are arraigned DISCOVERY begins. DISCOVERY is governed by a confusing set of rules. The rules dictate when you get the information and how you get the information. The trial court supervises the process and issues court orders which set forth what information must be disclosed and when it must be disclosed. You need to be aware of the DISCOVERY procedures because DISCOVERY is necessary to fully prepare your case for trial. Your attorney must respond o the prosecutor’s discovery motion or in order for you to be able to use all your evidence at trial. Under the US Supreme Court’s decision of Brady v. Maryland, a prosecutor may not refuse a request by the defendant for evidence which is favorable to him and is material either to guilt or punishment.
Brady does not require the prosecutor to disclose all evidence favorable to the defendant. Brady only directs the prosecutor to disclose favorable evidence known to be crucial to your case. Evidence which is crucial to establishing your innocence must be disclosed as a matter of right. Brady does not require the government provide the accused with information the accused knew existed. Courts have a tough time determining what evidence is Brady material, and thus must be disclosed, and what evidence while helpful to the Defendant, is not subject to pretrial Brady disclosure. Brady does not give the accused ‘unsupervised authority to search through the prosecutor’s files in search for exculpatory material.’ However, the prosecution must turn over evidence which weakens the government’s case. A witness for the prosecution who has given an inconsistent prior statement or has other impeachment issues must be disclosed to the accused under Brady.