If you’re facing New Jersey criminal charges, you have rights, which include the right to obtain certain evidence and information. This is known as the right to discovery, and it generally means that you, as the defendant, have the right to review the prosecution’s evidence before going to trial. In fact, the prosecutorial duty to hand discovery over is ongoing.
New Jersey and the Movement Toward Open Discovery
Many states have adopted a last-minute or limited approach to defendants’ discovery. This can leave those defendants facing criminal charges all but defenseless. It’s difficult for attorneys to defend their clients’ rights when all the relevant information is not forthcoming. With this conundrum in mind, New Jersey has taken an innovative discovery stance. In New Jersey, discovery is now required to take place before a guilty plea can be entered, which seems like an obvious requirement but isn’t. New York is considering a similar requirement.
Criminal Charges and the Right to Discovery
While the Constitution does not specifically impose a prosecutorial duty to disclose evidence when criminal charges are pending, it does require the prosecution to disclose to the defense all exculpatory evidence in its control. Exculpatory evidence is that evidence that tends to contradict the accused’s guilt or that tends to support lesser charges.
Brady v. Maryland
In Brady v. Maryland, a U.S. Supreme Court case of precedence, the Court held that failing to disclose evidence requested by the defense – when the evidence favors the accused’s position and is material to the guilt or punishment of the accused – is a violation of due process. 373 U.S. 83 (1963). Such violations are known as Brady violations, and if a material Brady violation is discovered, it can lead to a new trial.
Criminal Charges, Discovery, and Your Case
If you’re looking at criminal charges in New Jersey, your ability to obtain discovery matters. An experienced criminal defense attorney will defend your right to discovery and ensure that the prosecution neither withholds nor delays your right to fair discovery. Don’t leave discovery for your criminal charges to chance, engage an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer.
If You’re Facing Criminal Charges in NJ, Call 732-238-8686 Today for More Information
Criminal charges in New Jersey are serious, and you should take them seriously by retaining a skilled criminal defense attorney. David C. Barry, Attorney at Law, is here to help. Attorney David C. Barry has the experience, knowledge, and dedication to navigate your case successfully through full discovery and toward its best possible outcome. David will ensure that you understand your legal rights and options as he crafts your comprehensive defense. If you’ve been criminally charged, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney; contact or call David at 732-238-8686 today.