Monday, March 28, 2011

Exonerees Object to Changes in Discovery Bill

Five men, including Greg Taylor, Darryl Hunt, who collectively spent over 60 years in North Carolina prisons for crimes they didn't commit, held a press conference today to oppose HB 408. HB 408 removes the duty of the state to provide to criminal defendant the complete law enforcement file.

The bill is a step backward in a criminal discovery system that has become more expansive in the last 20 years. Also, the constitution requires disclosure of any exculpatory information. The discovery provisions in place have largely displaced the need for disputed hearings on these constitutional standards and prevented subsequent cases being overturned due to the failure of the state to comply with constitutional discovery violations.

Hiding evidence had a role in these wrongful convictions. Without complete access to the law enforcement file, evidence of innocence can be missed and result in more wrongful convictions. Denying defendant's access to the state's evidence will only result in more injustices like those of Mr. Hunt and Mr. Taylor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Right: the political solution to hidden misconduct in the police and police laboratories is to restrict access to police reports.

When's the next election?