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 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?
We see that a lot went wrong