Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

what is a discovery packet and when should i obtain mines?

Asked on 6/20/10, 3:03 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Robert Marshall Law Office of Robert L, Marshall
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A discovery packet in a criminal case is the police reports and evidence the District Attorney intends to use against you at trial.

The discovery is usually given to the defense after the first court appearance, although a retained attorney will often be able to get it ahead of time. If you are representing yourself (NOT a good idea), the judge will need to appoint a private investigator to remove the addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses or victims because California law prohibits disclosure of that informaton to a defendant.

Your lawyer will get the discovery. For a number of reasons, the attorney may decide only to give you copies of some of the discovery materials, or not to give you actual copies at all.

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6/21/10, 2:23 pm
Brian McGinity McGinity Law Office
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Discovery in a civil case is much different from discovery in a criminal case. In the criminal context, discovery basically amounts to receiving copies of the evidence that will be used against the defendant so the government can prove their case. It generally consists of law enforcement reports that explain what happened, including statements from possible witnesses, statements the defendant made, reports regarding what the evidence is against the defendant, how and where the evidence was obtained, and the way the investigation was conducted. It also usually contains the conclusions law enforcement made which lead to the arrest and charges being filed. It will also contain logs of evidence and other things that may have been taken into custody, and that maybe come extremely important to the case. The defense wants copies of the discovery so they can evaluate the case and the evidence against the defendant. The defense generally does not supply a lot of discovery, if any, to DA, unless the case is extremely complicated and going to trial.

In a cvil context discovery is exchanged by both sides so that each side can evaluate the case and possibly settle the matter without going to trial.

Hope that helped, Good Luck

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6/21/10, 5:30 pm

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