MA evidence and discovery you can get in a criminal case
Evidence police picture taken by BinaryApe
In every Massachusetts criminal case, the prosecutor sometimes referred to as the Commonwealth in MA has certain obligations. One obligation the Commonwealth has in a criminal case is to provide you with discovery or evidence in your case. Ultimately, it is up to a judge to determine what type of discovery or evidence needs to be given to you. However, in most MA criminal cases, the Commonwealth is usually required to provide certain discovery items.
The Commonwealth does not need to help you find information that is helpful in your case. Additionally, if certain evidence isn’t in the Commonwealth’s possession, the court will usually not require the prosecutor to get the document. In some instances it may be helpful for you to hire an investigator to help find useful evidence to defend your case.
In most cases, the Commonwealth is required to provide you with all the police reports pertaining to the incident. You or your attorney can also obtain your board of probation record. If you end up testifying at trial it may be possible for the prosecutor to use certain convictions to impeach you on the stand.
You may also get the name, addresses, and board of probation records for all the witnesses that the Commonwealth intends to call at trial. Depending on the case, the Commonwealth may also require to provide medical reports, DNA reports, drug certifications, photos, 911 tapes, booking videos and identification procedures if the Commonwealth intends to use these items at trial.
The proper date to request discovery or evidence is on the pre-trial conference hearing date. The Commonwealth is supposed to comply with the discovery or evidence request by the compliance and election date. Ultimately, the judge will decide what evidence or discovery the Commonwealth needs to provide.