Discovery, Admissibility, & Weight

Discovery, Admissibility, & Weight

I have been charged with fraud and I did not do it. I want to see the internal investigation file from where I used to work. The government prosecutor has the file in her possession. My Philadelphia criminal defense attorney tells me that she will not give it to him. He tells me that he can file a motion to compel her to give him the file as discovery, but even if he wins the motion it doesn’t mean that anything in the file will be admissible at trial, and even if it is admissible, the jury won’t give it any weight, so why bother? Is this true?

Yes and no.
The legal answer and the practical answer are not the same in this question.
The legal answer is, anything reasonably related to the crime is discoverable generally, and any thing that may show your innocence is always discoverable under Brady v. Maryland, if it is in the prosecutors possession. An internal investigation file on the subject matter clear fits both of those principals so you should get the discovery.

Admissibility is another animal. You have to be able to get the information in to evidence at trial. Most of the items in internal files are hearsay, so you would need a witness to get them in. This article is not an evidence lesson, so I won’t go into it. But, note, just because something in the file is good for you doesn’t mean it just gets shown to the jury, that’s not how it works.

Weight is a very simple concept. Weight means the jury can give it whatever weight it wants. If the jury thinks its important great, but if not, they can choose to give it little or no value.

The real issue here is the practical one. Why wouldn’t your lawyer at least try to get? Who knows what is in the file? There is no excuse for not filing a motion to compel discovery.

Discovery, Admissibility, & Weight

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