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On January 1st prosecutors must turn over more evidence to defendants

On January 1st prosecutors must turn over more evidence to defendants

Since the United States Supreme Court decided Brady v. Maryland in 1963, prosecutors across the country have been required to disclose exculpatory evidence.  Such evidence may help establish innocence, or indicate that a lesser crime was committed.  Brady evidence is material if “there is a reasonable probability that a conviction or sentence would have been different had these materials been disclosed.”Strickler v. Greene, 527 U.S. 263, 296 (1999).

Following a man’s wrongful imprisonment for 25 years, the Texas legislature sought to expand due process safeguards to defendants awaiting trial.  Effective, January 1, 2014 Texas prosecutors have a duty, upon request, to turn over virtually all evidence–not just Brady materials.  See Tex. Code Crim. Pro. 39.14.

Defendants will no longer have to rely on determinations by the police, and the prosecution as to what is exculpatory evidence.

To determine your rights under the new law, please contact the lawyers at Henley & Henley for a free consultation.