Does a defendant have a right to see the evidence in his case before a trial date is set or upon his request?

Asked over 1 year ago - Folsom, CA

I was charged with a crime and I was not allowed access to evidence in my case prior to the court date to set my trial date. I had asked several times to meet with the lawyer over my case. and he would never arrange a meeting. I was denied the right to see the evidence when I asked and pressured to take a plea bargain. Did I, or did I not, have the right to view and evaluate the evidence gathered in my case in sufficient time to respond to it prior to the date to set trial?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Richard Franklin Taub


    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . More information is needed here before a comprehensive answer can be given. For example, what was, if any, the reason(s) given my your counsel not to meet with you? Did your attorney or the prosecution deny you the right to see your evidence. Both have the obligation to let you see the evidence, but the prosecutor can discharge his or her obligation by giving your counsel the opportunity to view the evidence. You do have the right to see the evidence to be used against you. Indeed, it is responsible for counsel to get his client's input regarding the evidence. You are the most important source of information regarding the case to your attorney. However, your counsel is your representative with the court and proseuctor. So, understandably, most contact with you by those groups proceed through your counsel.

    The information provided herein does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided is to... more
  2. Robert Laurens Driessen

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes you have the right to review the evidence and can receive redacted copies of the police reports.
    Robert Driessen

    Mr. Driessen is a former Deputy DA in Orange County with over 8 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated... more
  3. Joseph Salvatore Farina

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You obviously had a right to see the prosecution's evidence against you. Don't know why your attorney refused to meet with you. I would want to know if you were in custody at the time the case was going on. If my client is in custody, there may be good reasons not to give the client the police report. I certainly would review with him or her, but I wouldn't want the report circulating around the jail. And there is case law supporting this position. I never pressure clients to do anything, since it's their case and my job is to provide information and advise. They have to make the final decision.

  4. Gayle Anne-Marie Gutekunst

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Understand that it is a misdemeanor for the attorney to give the defendant a police report or other investigation report which contains biographical information/contact information on the other parties to the offense. The defendant can see the names. However, the defendant cannot see birthdates, phone numbers, addresses, employment, etc. - information often noted on such reports.

    Attorneys handle this in different ways. Some use a sharpie and line through the info, making sure it cannot be read from the other side of the paper. Some actually cut the information out with scissors. This is something an employee of the attorney can do. However, some lawyers are a little too busy/lazy/whatever to do that, which results in the client not getting any info at all.

    But, as Mr. Farina said, there could be any number of reasons why it transpired as it did with this attorney and defendant.

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