Last Updated: November 20, 2023

Prosecution Discovery Obligations – Police Materials

Does a prosecutor have to turn over discovery materials in the possession of police? Pursuant to State v. Knight, 734 P.2d 913 (Utah 1987), constitutional principles of due process dictate that a prosecutor’s obligation to provide discovery materials extends to materials known to, in possession of, or under the control…

Does a prosecutor have to turn over discovery materials in the possession of police?

Pursuant to State v. Knight, 734 P.2d 913 (Utah 1987), constitutional principles of due process dictate that a prosecutor’s obligation to provide discovery materials extends to materials known to, in possession of, or under the control of any member of the prosecution team.

Prosecutors sometimes erroneously believe that they are only responsible for providing discovery materials in their direct possession. But the prosecution team includes police officers or agencies involved in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal case.

A prosecutor’s “open file” policy is not a substitute for compliance with due process discovery requirements set forth in Knight and by the U.S. Supreme Court in Maryland v. Brady, and other subsequent cases. An open file policy allows defense counsel to confirm that nothing has been accidentally left out in discovery production, but does nothing to protect against intentional or systematic omissions by a prosecution office.

Vigilance by defense attorneys is critical to ensuring that the prosecution meets its discovery obligations.

Originally Published: November 20, 2023

Related Articles

Should I start counseling while my criminal case is still pending?
A lot of our clients have asked if they should start counseling before their criminal case is completed. In general, the answer is usually yes. Over...
November 20, 2023
Criminal Defense in Iron County, Utah
Iron County is part of Utah’s Fifth Judicial District. Cedar City is largest city, and home to the county’s two busiest criminal courts...
November 20, 2023
How can I clear a felony conviction from my record in Utah?
The process depends on the nature and severity of your felony. There are certain felonies that are not eligible to be expunged. These include first...
November 20, 2023

Ready to explore our other articles?