AZ Shooter & Evidence....

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by seereus, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. seereus

    seereus Active Member

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    I keep seeing reports on the news that are distributing information as to what kind of evidence was found in his home, what written letters he had left at his home stated, and about items found in his safe.

    Would this not be considered evidence, and if so, how is it getting into the hands of news reporters?

    Would this not be considered confidential information?
     
  2. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    The prosecution is required to share any and all evidence it finds with the defense [s:2sk470hq]council[/s:2sk470hq] counsel of the accused. If the accused wrote letters, had books, or made postings, then it's pretty much assumed that the accused knows he did those things and there's no confidentiality involved (at least with regards towards him). As criminal trials are generally a mater of public record and most times there are also members of the public in the audience, then it's hard to say such evidence is confidential and that no one outside of the accused and the judicial system should know about its existence.

    I would think that the only 'confidential' information would be that which needed to be kept out of the news to prevent alerting any accomplices (if there are any), or that which might corrupt other evidence or testimony.

    Something could be made of how such information was made public, however. Anything released through official channels is by it's very nature, no longer 'confidential'. Information leaked by investigators or anyone involved with the investigation could be another matter.
     

  3. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    The State can release certain information about a crime, as long as it doesn't invade the privacy of the individual in an illegal way, and as long as the prosecution isn't trying to influence the potential jurors who may one day be selected to hear this case.

    The defense does not have a constitutional right to very much discovery. What little there is has to do with the defense having enough information to do an effective cross-examination of the State's witnesses. If that's violated, there's a "right to counsel" 6th Amendment violation as well as a "confrontation clause" violation, also part of the 6th Amd.

    True open and broad discovery is the rule for civil cases, but for felony criminal cases the defendant has to "opt-in" to reciprocal discovery with the prosecution.
     
  4. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    I always knew civil proceedings had much more access to discovery than criminal, but you've piqued my interest.

    The defense has a right to be presented with all evidence that will be used against him in court, doesn't he? Or is there secret evidence that the accused will have no time to prepare his plea against until presented at trial? (Or ... maybe you covered that and I just didn't quite get it, which is probably the better bet.)

    Does the State have the right or authority to keep secret evidence which might be exculpatory in nature?
     
  5. Puffyfish

    Puffyfish New Member

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    Happens all the time. :screwy:
     
  6. budder

    budder Moderator Staff Member

    Generally, no. There are some exceptions, but I think they are all outside the intended scope of your question. The Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct have a special provision for prosecutors:
    (d) make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or that mitigates the offense;
     
  7. CoffeeMate

    CoffeeMate Junior Butt Warmer

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    Why are they going through his computer and email? Is that really necessary in order to make a case?

    How many witnesses can pick him out of a line up? "Yes, that is the guy who was murdering people that day!"
     
  8. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    Although it is almost a foregone conclusion that he will be found guilty, there may be evidence like he was abducted and cloned by aliens and therefore isn't really the guy that committed the crime. Or.... there may be evidence of others being involved.

    Good law enforcement should always find All the evidence, not merely only enough evidence to convict.
     
  9. CoffeeMate

    CoffeeMate Junior Butt Warmer

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    So if you get a speeding ticket, should your house be ransacked and all your electronics confiscated (to include any intellectual property contained on them) just in case there might be evidence you're a member of the vast nationwide speeding motorist underground conspiracy vehicle militia?
     
  10. Ashe

    Ashe Active Member

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    They would say they are looking for evidence of accomplices (while looking for some sort of evidence that can show the culpability of the "right wing").
    The Sheriff has already demonstrated his bias. He wants to shift blame from his department because they didn't do anything about the many phone calls they received about the shooters behavior prior to the actual shooting.
     
  11. Fallschirmjäger

    Fallschirmjäger I watch the watchers

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    An excellent point.
    We don't know that a warrant was obtained. He lived in his parent's home (from one report), so it may be as easy as someone saying "Ma'am, Sir, your son has been accused of a horrible crime, do you know anything about it?"
    "Why no, our son would never do anything like that!"
    "Could we come inside? There may be something that would explain everything or even clear his name, could we see his room or look around just a bit?."
    "Well, I dunno......"
    "Is there anything you're hiding? We could get a search warrant and make this official if we Have to."
     
  12. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    The State has a duty to disclose to the defense any evidence that is directly and clearly exculpatory (indicates the accused is innocent, or evidence that would qualify the defendant for a lower sentence or different range of sentencing guidelines). See Brady v. Maryland, U.S. Supreme Court, 1963.

    This "Brady" right of discovery also includes evidence that would strongly reduce the credibility of a state witness (such as if a witness is being paid or otherwise rewarded for his testimony against the accused-- see Giglio v. United States, U.S. Supreme Court, 1972)

    Both of the above are constitutional rights that must be respected in all jurisdictions regardless of state law or local practice or custom.