Monday, March 26, 2007

Legislation up in Senate committee would require open files for DAs

I can't believe that when analyzing bills on tomorrow's Senate Criminal Justice Committee agenda I passed over (purely by accident) this wonderful bill, SB 643 by Carona, which would mandate that District and County Attorneys operate an "open file" policy for defendants allowing them (or usually their attorney) to view prosecutors' full case files not later than 30 days after the indictment. It's up in tomorrow's Senate Criminal Justice Committee and deserves bipartisan support.

Such policies are already in place voluntarily in some counties, including larger jurisdictions like Dallas, Tarrant and Wichita. The practice saves time and money, helps ensure a fair trial and reduces the number of successful appeals over withheld evidence.

See prior related Grits posts:

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