Discovery rules in U.S. remain ‘a tangled mess’

Exonerations in cases like that of Michael Morton of Texas — who was freed in 2011 after DNA testing on evidence previously hidden by the prosecution identified another man as the killer of Morton’s wife — have demonstrated discovery’s crucial role in wrongful convictions. Despite some reforms to the discovery process in a few states, though, laws in most of America remain a tangled mess, according to The Crime Report. For every successful reform, Kate Pastor reports here, bills in other states die aborning.

2 responses to “Discovery rules in U.S. remain ‘a tangled mess’

  1. Well, what happens if you get discovery and find out the whole case is fabricated? There’s no summary judgment motion, and no defense that a prosecution is not brought in good faith, the latter being as far as I can tell conclusively presumed.

    Once you open up the door to discovery in criminal cases, you’re going to have to open the door to dismissals on the merits prior to trial – that is, summary judgment – and SCOTUS doesn’t want to go there, right?

  2. Very interesting article.

    The article points out that North Carolina seems to be setting the standard for discovery “rules.”

    I have worked on post conviction relief cases in 6 states, and I personally would say that the legal post conviction relief process and infrastructure in North Carolina makes the most sense of all the ones I’ve been exposed to. If we could just propagate that!

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