TESTIMONY OF THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE
S.B. No. 402 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING THE DISCLOSURE OF EVIDENCE TO A DEFENDANT IN A CRIMINAL CASE.
JOINT COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
March 9, 2020
The Division of Criminal Justice respectfully recommends the Committee take NO ACTION on S.B. No. 402, An Act Concerning the Disclosure of Evidence to a Defendant in a Criminal Case. The Division respectfully recommends the Committee defer this issue to the Rules Committee of the Superior Court, which is currently undertaking its own comprehensive review of the policies and procedures governing discovery in criminal cases.
The Division of Criminal Justice is well aware of the concerns expressed regarding discovery in criminal cases. Following the introduction of similar legislation in past sessions, the Division by its own initiative began an internal review of the discovery practices employed by the State’s Attorneys’ offices throughout the State. As recognition of the importance we place on the concerns that have been expressed, this internal review was assigned to State’s Attorneys who serve at the highest levels of our internal administration. We continue to strive for uniformity wherever possible and a system that recognizes the limits created by factors beyond our control, such as the tremendous increase in body camera and other digital evidence and staffing limitations.
As further evidence of our commitment to addressing concerns, the Division also continues to actively participate in the deliberations already under way in the Rules Committee of the Superior Court. We believe this process, which has brought together judges, prosecutors, public defenders and the private defense bar, provides the appropriate forum for a comprehensive review and examination that takes into consideration the specific needs and impact on all parties, whether it be the defendant and his or her counsel, the court clerk or other staff or the prosecutor. We have no reason to believe that this process will not produce agreement on any necessary revisions acceptable to all involved.
As such, in conclusion the Division of Criminal Justice recommends the Committee take NO ACTION on S.B. No. 402. We thank the Committee for affording this opportunity to provide input on this matter and would be happy to provide any additional information the Committee might require or to answer any questions that you might have.