A number of changes to the Practice Book went into effect on January 1, 2010 here in CT. Of particular importance to this blog and criminal defense practitioners in the State are the changes to the discovery rules.
The regular discovery section was amended to add the following language:
Without the prior approval of the prosecuting authority or the court, defense counsel and his or her agents shall not provide copies of materials disclosed pursuant to Section 40 -13A to any person except to persons employed by defense counsel in connection with the investigation or defense of the case.
Note the use of the very specific “defense counsel”. Most criminal practice book provisions use the phrase “the defendant” as a substitute for either the defendant himself or his lawyer. But the use of “defense counsel” is particularly notable. The section seeks to exclude the defendant himself from possession copies of police reports, statements, affidavits, etc.
The only way for the defendant himself to get copies is through the permission of the prosecutor or the court. And even then, I suspect (as is the practice for many defense lawyers) they would require that names and addresses be redacted.
The changes to the section were actually agreed upon by a joint task force, comprising prosecutors and defense attorneys. The “compromise” was a much expanded discovery provision, making disclosure of all statements, affidavits and reports mandatory upon written request by the defense. Continue reading