Do prosecutors have to turn over all evidence, or just the evidence they use? - Page 3


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Thread: Do prosecutors have to turn over all evidence, or just the evidence they use?

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Oh okay, thanks, well the way I wrote it so far is that this witness statement is introduced to the defense at the grand jury hearing, when the grand jury goes over all the evidence, to see if there is enough to proceed to trial.

    Would this be wrong, and the defense would already have this evidence of a newer witness statement, before the grand jury hearing?

    Grand Juries don't really go over ALL the evidence. They're jurors, sitting in the jury box, listening to the prosecutor lay out the evidence most likely to get them a True Bill finding. Typically the defense is not present at a Grand Jury hearing...it's not a trial. You just have the DA's office laying out what they have so far, and proving that they have grounds to proceed with a [very expensive] trial.

    Discovery phase is where the DA [or county prosecutor] would hand over all evidence. It is also the point where the judge decides what to actually allow into the trial.

    Always remember that in a real courtroom, there are no surprises. It's not like on TV where they call surprise witnesses, or pull an evidence bag outta their briefcase. EVERYTHING has been declared long before the jury sees it. Even witnesses have to be approved in advance.

  2. #22
    Think of a Grand Jury as being like the pilot for a TV show.
    If the pilot bombs, then they don't make the show.

  3. #23
    Oh ok sonif the grand jury doesn't go ovee all the evidence then, then the prosecution can still withhold that piece of evidence until discovery then?

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Oh ok sonif the grand jury doesn't go over all the evidence then, then the prosecution can still withhold that piece of evidence until discovery then?
    They can, but if itís super important I donít know why they wouldnít show it.

    Ralph is correct that a grand jury hearing is really just an overview of the prosecutors case so far - the basis on which to decide. You could think of it a bit like a movie trailer or playable demo or something. The strongest, most damning evidence would undoubtedly be shown and questioned on, but it isnít a trial. The reason it exists is to avoid gumming up the system by having frivolous trials.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  5. #25
    Oh well in my story the prosecutor wants to pressure the defendant into making a deal. But if the defendant knows about this witness statement, that would be in his favor more so, he will not go for the deal. So the prosecutor will want to pressure him into making a deal at the preliminary hearing, after the defendant is told he is going to trial, but... before the prosecutor has to hand over the statement, which would be after the hearing I'm guessing.

  6. #26
    Oh,there's plenty of time to pressure the defendant into a plea.

  7. #27
    Oh well i thought they have a better chance of pressure before they are required to turn over any evidence that could be exculpatory.

  8. #28
    Nothing says they can't try.
    Once you have been mirandized, if you choose to do something stupid without running it by your lawyer, it's not their fault.

    Hell, Cops are even allowed to lie to the defendant during interrogations. Getting a plea is a lot like selling vacuum cleaners.

  9. #29
    Oh ok so a deal cannot legally be reneged, if all the evidence was not presented to the defenfant before the deal?

  10. #30
    A plea deal is not done until the judge says it is done.
    Until then they simply have a non-binding agreement.
    Either side can pull out.
    In fact, the judge does not have to honor a plea deal, and they will tell the defendant so before making their decision. They say something like "Do you, Mister X agree to this plea agreement, and understand that I am under no obligation to abide by the elements of this deal?"

    I once saw a judge take the guilty plea, but reject parts of a plea deal because he thought it too soft.
    He also chastised the prosecutor for making the deal.
    The judge can throw out elements of a plea deal, or the entire deal.



    And a plea deal can be offered before all evidence is turned over to the defense. A smart lawyer would not take it, but a dumb client might.

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