Discovery

The Michael Morton Act affords Texans more expansive prosecutorial disclosure requirements than many other places. However, it has not fixed all problems with prosecutors withholding evidence.

Civil cases are still afforded much broader discovery, when financial interests are sat stake. When liberty interests are at stake, and with all the examples of wrongful convictions, you would think prosecutors would divulge as much information as possible, but that is still not the case. For example, many prosecutors still think of disclosure under solely constitutional Brady requirements, which is less broad. Others try to claim certain disclosure requirements are work-product. By not writing formal statements, they think notes taken during witness interviews about factual information should not be disclosed. And worse still, many judges who have come straight from the prosecutor offices under the Brady rules only, tend to agree with them – and there is no recourse under the statute if prosecutors violate the disclosure rules, other than resetting a case, which does nothing to reverse the potential harm failing to disclose causes. Prosecutors are still allowed to stick their head in the ground and wrongfully claim ignorance when it comes to evidence disclosure. Meanwhile, an accused has to face pending criminal charges even longer with all the collateral consequences that come with it. It takes a lot of initial work and facing some animosity, but our discovery requests are broad, proactive, and holds prosecutors to not their constitutional requirements, but their statutory and ethical requirements as well. In every case, you’ll receive the benefit of Drew Willey Law leading the discovery charge, and if you’d like more information on our reform efforts in this area, see [Reform: Discovery link].