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Summary: Criminal discovery, which involves the exchange of relevant information between prosecutors and the defense prior to trial, is considered a necessary element of a fair and just criminal justice system and is also required as part of a defendant's constitutional right to a full defense. SB 1611 would require the State as soon as possible to allow the defense to inspect relevant information. SB 1611 would allow only portions of documents to be disclosed if the document is not subject to discovery. SB 1611 would prohibit the defense from disclosing discovery documents to a third party. SB 1611 would require the State to electronically record documents disclosed to the defense.
Analysis: Wrongful conviction for any crime is a tragedy. While we want to make sure that the guilty are caught, convicted, and served with a sentence that is appropriate to the crime, we are well aware that all too often the innocent are convicted and sometime serve lengthy prison sentences. In an attempt to prevent wrongful conviction, SB 1611, also known as the Michael Morton Act, attempts to create a uniform open discovery process. This bill could help reduce the number of individuals wrongly convicted and increase efficiency in the criminal justice system. We recommend voting YES on SB 1611.