i was arrested about a month ago and the evidence that is going to be used against me has not yet been released to my attorney.i am clueless as to what the authorities have on me.is it legal to keep evidence that is going to b used against one a secret?
In the State of Florida, state courts have very liberal rules of discovery. Essentially, you are entitled to see and inspect the evidence that the State will use against you. Your attorney should have already filed a "Demand for Discovery." Once that is done, the State of Florida has a short period of time to get the discovery to your attorney and/or make it available at their office and/or the police department for inspection and review. Unlike the Federal courts, there is no "trial by ambush" in Florida's State courts and you do have a right to review the evidence against you.
With that being said, the State Attorney Offices throughout the State are very, very busy and it is fairly common that they will not provide discovery within the 15 days mandated by law. Your attorney should speak with the assigned prosecutor about your discovery and when you can expect to receive it.
Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving,
Aaron J. Slavin, Esq.
SLAVIN LAW FIRM, LLC
I agree with the above answers. Sometimes, you may also do a little digging yourself by simply contacting the records department of the arresting agency to obtain copies of their reports. It typically takes about a week or two for the officer's reports to become public, and once you see the full reports (not just the arresting affidavit), you'll get a better idea of what evidence they have against you. Of course, as mentioned above, if the state attorney has not filed an "information" against you, then your attorney has no right to the evidence in the possession of the State.
Just wanted to add that many times a client will insist that because discovery is late that their cases should be dismissed. I agree - there should be serious sanctions for late discovery from prosecutors (presuming that you are charges and a notice of discovery has been filed by your attorney).
The problem is that judges do not agree. Often, the remedy for late discovery that judges favor is just to give the defense at least 15 days after delivery before proceeding. So, if you have been formally charged and discovery motions have been filed, you will get your discovery whenever and then have the right to ask for more time to prepare afterwards.