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Can investigators leave out interviews when handing over to prosecution?

Orlando, FL |

The investigator handling the case interviewed a total of 3 people. The suspect and 2 witnesses. In the discovery handed over to the defense. The interview from the suspect was included and the interview from one witness( the interview did not contain anything vital). The 3rd persons Interview was not included but contained information that could have quite possibly established doubt. Especially with some of the questions asked during the trial. I understand that the court would decide if it could have changed the verdict but my question is can investigators omit interviews?

Thank you for all of your answers. I will look into speaking with an attorney who handles post conviction matters. The attorneys knew about this early in the trial. It was handled by the PD's office and the suspect had a different lawyer it seemed every 3 months. We would make sure to ask about it. None ever looked into it and I brought it up to the one that took it to trial and he said something about it did not matter if the investigator did not record somewhere doing the interview. It is frustrating but again. Thank you for addressing my question.

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

It is true the police are obligated to turn over all evidence, whether it proves a person guilty or can be used for their defense. Nonetheless, the police couldn't testify at trial as to what the witnesses said. The witnesses would have to personally testify in the trial anyway for it to not be hearsay. The defendant's lawyer should conduct depositions of these witnesses to know what they would say. The fact that a police officer failed to include their statements in a report doesn't prevent the witnesses from testifying to it.

This is not to be considered legal advice nor does an attorney-client relationship exist.

John J. Carney

John J. Carney

Posted

The police are not obligated to :turn over" anything. The prosecutor must follow the Brady Rue, but this does not apply to information in the hands of the FBI, parole department, other police agencies, or many other documents that are not intended to be used at trial or which are work product.

Eric J Trabin

Eric J Trabin

Posted

Work product is distinct from other types of documents or evidence that is not intended to be used at trial. Under Florida law, anything in the possession of law enforcement is deemed to be also in the possession of the State Attorney. Even if the State does not intend to use particular information, if such information might tend to prove the defendant's innocence then the police must disclose it. Of course, as I said in the original answer that the defense can call witnesses for deposition or trial.

John J. Carney

John J. Carney

Posted

Did not see it was a Fla case, was thinking of New York law, that might be very different. Here the other agencies are not the same as the NYPD which has to turn over and the prosecutor is assumed to know what they have. Thanks.

Posted

Look at Mr. Tabin's response to answer your question. Also, ask your attorney since he knows your case better than anyone else.

Posted

Your lawyer should mention the missing report to the State Attorney in in case it has just been omitted in error. aside from that I agree with Mr. Trabin's response.

Posted

If your lawyer found out about the interview after trial a motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence can be filed. Speak with your trial attorney on this issue
www.colleenglenn.com

Posted

I agree with what has been said so far but wish to clarify somewhat. The prosecutor is required to turn all statements which have been memorialized in some form to the defense, i.e., written, recorded, etc. The prosecutor also is required to turn over the name of any witnesses or anyone who has knowledge of the case. In general the prosecutor is charged with any knowledge the invistigator has whether the prosecutor is actually told of the statement or not. It would seem from the question that there may be a production violation either because their is a memorialized statement which was not produced or the name of some one with knowledge of the case was not produced to the defense. For a remedy to exist is such a situation though, there must be some actual harm to the defendant's case. While you seem to think there was, you need to consult an attorney experienced in the area to see if the statement would have actually made a difference in the outcome of the case, and if so what can be done to remudy the situation. Time may be of the essence since some issues are easier to deal with shortly after a trial but become more difficult or even precluded from remedy as time passes. Consult Counsel.

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