Dedicated Texas Criminal Defender

Why the right of discovery is so important for criminal cases

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2024 | Evidence in Criminal Cases

There are many legal rules that protect those accused of breaking the law in Texas. Certain state and federal rules restrict police activity and also establish certain requirements for the courts. One of the most important protections for individuals facing criminal charges in the United States is the right of discovery.

The defendant and the attorney representing them have the right to review the evidence that prosecutors intend to present during criminal proceedings. Discovery allows someone access to a list of potential witnesses and even forensic reports. Everything from financial records to police reports about an incident should be made available to a defendant. Prosecutors are even required to provide potentially exculpatory evidence that the defense team might otherwise be unable to access.

How discovery helps

People often fall victim to the misconception that the state only pursues charges when it has an airtight case. However, the evidence that the state has may not be as strong as a defendant assumes or as police officers claim after their arrest.

A lawyer familiar with the rules that apply to criminal trials can help a defendant evaluate the state’s evidence. In some cases, police officers may have violated someone’s civil rights or failed to follow best practices. Issues with chain of custody records or illegal searches could prevent Texas prosecutors from using certain evidence during a trial.

Other times, prosecutors might rely on junk science as a cornerstone of their court strategy. Defense lawyers may be able to bring in expert witnesses who can show that blood-spatter analysis or 911-call analysis isn’t as authoritative as prosecutors might claim in court.

The best defense strategies focus specifically on key details of the state’s case. A lawyer only needs to raise a reasonable doubt about someone’s involvement in an incident or their criminal intent to potentially prevent a conviction. Therefore, the ability to review the state’s evidence and plan strategies to counter that evidence may prove invaluable to those hoping to establish their innocence at a trial.