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After a recent motion hearing we sought any text messages between a victim and the state or police officers. The judge granted the motion and we discovered exculpatory evidence contained therein. The Court entered an order declaring the texts to be written statements of a victim that are discoverable.

Posted on Aug 17, 2021

In a pending case, I had heard from a third-party source that the prosecutor may have had relations with a victim in the case.  We had previously filed a motion for discovery but had received no such discovery.  I filed a second motion for discovery seeking such statements.  After the state refusing to comply we argued our motion and won.  The judge entered an order declaring texts between either a victim and police or the state are discoverable and must be tendered to defense counsel as part of regular discovery.  The statement in the case that was hidden from us was the victim declaring she was the aggressor in a domestic battery case.  Had it not been for the disclosure we would not have been privvy to such information.  This type of discovery is controlled by Brady v. Maryland.  Such materials must be sent to the defense without request.  Failure to do so can result in a mistrial.  

I'm not sure why the State has taken the position that these materials are not discoverable.  It seems clear that they are both exculpatory and discoverable.  The court refused my motion for sanctions however.  I had asked the court to impose a sanction against the state barring testimony by the detective in any of the charges against my client.  Nonetheless, it is an order that all defense attorneys can rely upon when requesting materials be provided in normal discovery.  

Brian L. Polinske
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