New York’s discovery laws are DESIGNED to let criminals go free
Of all the criminal-justice “reforms” the Legislature passed in 2019 — on bail, discovery and parole and Raise the Age — discovery “reform” was the most pernicious.
It imposed an impossible burden on prosecutors to turn over almost every imaginable piece of evidence to the defense in just 20-35 days, including:
- All police paperwork
- All body-worn cameras, even for officers not involved directly in the arrest
- All police-disciplinary records for every officer on scene
- Witness names and contact information, meaning if prosecutors worry a witness is put at risk or can be intimidated, they must petition a judge to redact that information.
- Criminal records of “potential witnesses”
- Expert-witness résumés and writings
- Disciplinary records of any possible police witnesses and any other material “related to the case.”
Prosecutors who have not completed all their discovery obligations are deemed not ready for trial. What could possibly go wrong?
The result? In 2021 over 80% of misdemeanor cases resulted in dismissals. It’s why Shoplifting is a growth industry.
Of more serious crimes, in 2020 35% of felony cases were dismissed. Over a third of the cases where citizens are assaulted, robbed or murdered the criminal goes free without a trial. New York City used to be justly called the ‘Safest Big City in America’. No more.
George Soros is laughing at this.
Wait till he brings the same thing to your state or city.
Actually pretty much everything a prosecutor has regarding a criminal case SHOULD be given to the defense attorney. The only issue is the lack of time allowed. NO prosecutor should be allowed to keep secrets from the defense.
If you lived in NYC and witnessed a crime would you step up and testify when you knew that the thug you are testifying against would be given your name and address?
If you read the article did you agree that all police-disciplinary records for every officer on scene is necessary or reasonable? Expert-witness résumés and writings? Disciplinary records of any possible police witnesses and any other material “related to the case.”?
In a few weeks, with hundred of thousands of cases coming in and a limited and shrinking workforce to do it?
And in the end, the biased judge is just going to release the criminal anyway.
I said “pretty much” everything. NOT everything. I believe the defense should be privy to all the prosecutor’s data for a simple reason….our system is “innocent until proven guilty” and anything that tilts the system away from that is wrong.
Also….if they give a defense attorney addresses of potential witnesses and he hands those over to his client to allow for violence said attorney should end up behind bars.
Weak spot in nailing the attorney for witness harassment is who is going to testify he did it, the attorney or his client?
Interestingly the show “Blue Bloods” has used the NY “Reform” laws in the plots of several episodes. And they did a good job.