Chapter Twelve: Disclosing and Suppressing Evidence. Discovery. The informal and formal exchange of information between prosecution and defense, i.e., witness statements, confessions, police reports, laboratory reports, and defendant statements. Disclosure Rules - Civil.
The informal and formal exchange
of information between prosecution
and defense, i.e., witness statements,
confessions, police reports,
and defendant statements.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (1938)
state that every party in a civil action
to the disclosure of
any information in the possession of
any person, unless that information
(Applicable in most states).
There is no general constitutional right
to discovery in criminal cases.
(Weatherford v. Bursey)
However, prosecutors cannot suppress
inconsistent and exculpatory evidence; and the materiality of the evidence shall
be considered in its entirety.
(Jencks v. U.S.; Brady v. Maryland; Kyles v. Whitley)
Why is “discovery” important
to the defense attorney?
Why does the prosecutor look
favorably upon “informal” disclosure?
What is “reciprocal” disclosure?
and, what is the danger to the
Identification of Suspects
Searches and Seizures
At a trial, eyewitness testimony which incriminates an offender is one of the most influential pieces of evidence,
since DNA technology has developed,
eyewitness error has been identified as a
frequent cause of wrongful convictions.*
* Psychological studies show that there is extreme variation with false
identifications in both controlled field studies and actual studies.
Crimes most likely to be cleared by arrest
are those in which the offenders
were captured within minutes
those in which an eyewitness provided
a specific piece of information.
* Major issues: no consideration of system or estimator variables and; the correlation between accuracy and high confidence levels are only somewhat more likely to be correct than those who have a low confidence level.
The prosecutor is prohibited from
using illegally obtained evidence
during a trial.
“No person…shall be compelled in any
criminal case to be a witness
A confession by a defendant –
an admission of guilt –
is the most damagingevidence
that can be presented
at the defendant’s trial.
Use of physical coercion to obtain
confessions violates the due
process clause of the 14th Amendment.
(Brown v. Mississippi)
Psychologically coerced confessions are not voluntary and therefore not
admissible in court.
(Ashcraft v. Tennessee)
A coerced confession does not
automatically overturn a conviction.
Arizona v. Fulminante (1991)
“…the introduction of a confession makes the other aspects of a trial in court superfluous, and the real trial, for all practical purposes, occurs when the confession is obtained.”
(Justice William Brennan; Colorado v. Connelly, 1986)
The fundamental question asked by
judges is whether the confession was
‘free and voluntary.’
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled
that voluntariness of a confession
is determined by the
“totality of circumstances.”
(Culombe v. Connecticut, 1961)
and they can lie to suspects
and otherwise mislead them.
Frazier v. Cupp, (1969)
Police misrepresentation, while relevant, is insufficient to make a voluntary confession inadmissible under a
“totality of the circumstances” analysis.
Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
Chief Justice Earl Warren expressed
concerns over the “police-dominated”
atmosphere of interrogation rooms.
Chief Justice Warren further held that warnings were required to counteract the inherently coercive nature
of stationhouse questioning.
“Miranda has become embedded in
routine police practice to the point
where the warnings have become
part of our national culture.”
Chief Justice Rehnquist
Dickerson v. U.S. (2000)
Who has the burden to prove that
a confession was not “free and voluntary?”
How has the impact of Miranda changed under the influence of
the Burger and Rehnquist courts?
“the right of the people to be
secure in their person, houses,
papers, and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures,
shall not be violated.”
Weeks v. U.S. (1914)
Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
A search warrant is a written document,
signed by a judge or magistrate,
authorizing a law enforcement officer
to conduct a search.
“no Warrants shall issue, but upon
probable cause, supported by Oath
or affirmation, and particularly describing
the place to be searched and the
persons or things to be seized.”
What is the “Leon” ruling?
(U.S. v. Leon; 1984)
(see also: Illinois v. Krull; 1987)
Who prepares the warrant,
signs the warrant,
and, executes the warrant?
What is a warrantless search?
Give an example.
The role of the courtroom workgroup
during suppression motions:
Defense Attorney: Catalyst, bear
the burden of proof.
Prosecutors: Passive role, control the evidence
and the case.
Judges: Final arbiter, key policy-maker, and great
discretion concerning findings of fact.
Are the Court’s decisions in
Mapp and Miranda
major sources of case attrition?
What is the major argument against the
Has the “exclusionary rule” had a major
effect on the criminal justice system?