Discovery is a kind of safety net, a process through which the prosecuting attorney in a case must turn over any evidence found to the defending attorney within a timely manner and the defense attorney must turn over any evidence the defending party has in the case. This exists for many reasons, some of which are more obvious than others. If a prosecutor with investigators working beneath should discover that a person being charged with a crime couldn’t possibly have committed said crime, legal discovery should effectively cause such a suit to be dropped. Certain unscrupulous attorneys sometimes “lose” or “incorrectly file” specific forms and evidence though. How does a person being charged combat these underhanded and unethical tactics?
Well, litigation discovery is in place to free the innocent, but it’s also practiced so the allegedly guilty have the opportunity to formulate the best possible legal defense. When a person is charged with a crime and evidence proving their innocence is snuffed out or otherwise hidden away by prosecutors, it’s just the first step in an awful process you may have heard referred to as “railroading”. Any experienced defense attorney should be able to stop such stuff from happening by demanding to see evidence and applying pressure in the right places, like with prosecutors, judges and others who may be involved with a case.
Lawsuit discovery may not get every prosecutor to turn over all the information they discover, but what it will do for sure is stop them from bringing in surprise witnesses or pulling other punches right out of old Perry Mason episodes. It’s not a perfect countermeasure to illicit state attorneys, but it’s much better than no safeguard at all to protect those being charged from those who would see them convicted at any cost. Finding a skilled defensive attorney who plays the discovery game well can have a huge impact on the results of your litigation.
All you need do is remember you’re not alone, even if you’re the only one being charged with a crime. There’s help available and this isn’t a country ruled by some dictator – people here have rights and a right to legal representation when being brought up on charges is among those rights. If you know something or someone who can prove your innocence or at least refute some of what is being said about you, you must tell your attorney. Don’t let egregious conduct by a prosecutor be the reason you end up behind bars.