Irving, TX asked in Criminal Law for Texas

Q: Curious about the laws on the DA destroying evidence that could prove my innocence.

The gambling establishment I worked at for 1 day was raided. I was charged with 6/10ths of a gram. There was video recording up until the cops knocked down the cameras. And it clearly would prove I'm innocent. Along with a signed deposition from a witness. But the DA has destroyed it along with everything else taken that day. I am scheduled for jury trial next week just wandering what u guys think

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2 Lawyer Answers
Paul Saputo Jr.
Paul Saputo Jr.
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Dallas, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: If the District Attorney destroyed evidence, that is a severe abdication of their duties, a violation of your constitutional rights and likely a crime in itself. If you're asking whether they are allowed to do this, the answer is that they are not allowed to do this.

Kiele Linroth Pace
Kiele Linroth Pace
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Destroying the evidence is a felony offense of Tampering with Evidence: www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.37.htm#37.09

Since the DA is a public official, it is also the misdemeanor offense of Official Oppression: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.39.htm#39.03

A prosecutor has an automatic affirmative duty to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense under the Michael Morton Act, even without a request from the defense, See Article 39.14(h) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure as well as the case law flowing from the famous case of Brady v. Maryland.

A prosecutor's failure to disclose information that is required to be disclosed by law, regardless of intent, constitutes unlawfully obstructing another party's access to evidence in violation of Rule 3.04(a) of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. See: Schultz v. Comm’n for Lawyer Discipline of the State Bar of Texas (Board of Disciplinary Appeals No. 55649) December 17, 2015.

Violation of one or more of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Profession Conduct is defined as Professional Misconduct under Rule 1.06(W)(1) of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure and failure to disclose evidence may be grounds for disbarment of a prosecutor. Comm’n for Lawyer Discipline v. Sebesta (Evidentiary Panel District No. 08-2 State Bar of Texas #201400539) June 11, 2015, affm’d in Board of Disciplinary Appeals No. 56406, February 8, 2016.

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