If you are preparing for a criminal court case in Colorado, it’s a good idea to educate yourself about the criminal district attorney and what you are entitled to. If you’ve hired an attorney, these items should be supplied to your attorney without him/her having to ask for them.
In today’s blog post, we’ll take a general look at what to expect.
No Trial by Surprise
The District Attorney (D.A.) is required to give you any relevant information relating to your case. This will be any information they obtain either from the police or other people. It essentially means that the D.A. cannot withhold an incriminating report only to surprise you with it mid-trial. They are required to give you anything that reflects either on your guilt or your innocence, e.g., exculpatory evidence.
They must give you everything in their possession, as well as materials that are in the possession of law enforcement. For example, if the police have a witness statement from somebody who said he was with you at the time, the D.A. would have a duty to obtain said statement and provide a copy to your attorney or you.
The purpose of this practice is to make sure that each American citizen truly has the opportunity for a fair trial.
In the Case of Domestic Violence…
I’ll give you an example. Some time ago I worked on a domestic violence case. The husband had cheated on his wife (my client), and they were at the beginning of a nasty divorce (which he initiated). They had two daughters in middle school.
One day, the husband and wife got into a fight that culminated in the husband calling the police on my client, claiming that she had hit him so hard that he fell to the floor.
Now, my client was a small woman, and her husband at the time was a decent-sized guy. I argued that he claimed domestic violence in order to gain an advantage in the divorce, which he filed for shortly after bringing domestic violence charges. He believed that men are at a disadvantage when it comes to getting sole decision-making of kids after a divorce… unless there’s something like domestic violence involved. Domestic violence makes it significantly easier to get sole decision-making in the divorce.
After the D.A. gave us all the police reports and body-worn camera footage, and, furthermore, after I raised the issue that he may be claiming domestic violence to get an advantage in the divorce, the D.A.’s office brought in the husband and interviewed him. They were required to give me a copy of that interview, because their obligation to share evidence is ongoing throughout the duration of the case. Through that evidence, we were able to disprove the domestic violence and gain joint decision-making.
In the Case of a Motor Accident…
I once represented a driver who hit a motorcyclist and paralyzed him from the waist down. In looking at the discovery, we learned that the motorcyclist had a GoPro camera connected to his helmet. When my team reviewed the footage, which clearly depicted the accident, we found that the motorcyclist was dodging and weaving through traffic and riding far above the speed limit, all information that we used to defend my client.
You’re Entitled to a Fair Trial
In our justice system, you’re not ever supposed to be convicted of a crime based on not having access to the same information as the D.A. This is why it’s so fundamental that both sides have an equal chance to review and prepare with all the same information.
If it’s a DUI case, for instance, the D.A. must provide us with information about what kind of training the officer has in DUI detection. What kind of class did they take? How long ago? Is there any information that may demonstrate that the cop’s credibility is at issue? If an officer has been found to be not credible in another case, they’re required to inform us about it.
In other words, the D.A. is required to share just about every piece of information they gather, anything that can influence the case.
If you are facing a criminal charge, don’t do it alone. Call us today at 303-449-1873 to schedule a complimentary consultation and find out if Barre Sakol is the right representative for your case.