Lincoln, NE asked in Criminal Law for Nebraska

Q: At what point should the county attorney turn over all evidence they have to the public defense attorney

The prosecuting attorney has footage of the alleged crime but the public defender attorney does not have it

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1 Lawyer Answer
Julie Fowler
Julie Fowler
  • Omaha, NE
  • Licensed in Nebraska

A: There isn't a set answer to your question and the process and timing varies somewhat from county to county. It also depends somewhat on the severity of the charge and the type of evidence in question.

For example, it might start with the defense attorney having access to the police reports. The police reports then include remarks that there are body cam videos available. Then the defense attorney would have to request the body cam videos to be produced. Once the request is made, the prosecutor then requests the department prepare the body cam videos prepared and released to defense counsel. In this situation, it might take longer to get the body cam videos if the defense attorney didn't request the videos specifically until later.

Especially for more serious crimes set for trial, the Court may issue a specific pre-trial order that includes deadlines for the parties to exchange discovery or risk having their evidence excluded at trial for not timely exchanging.

It is also possible to file a motion to compel discovery or similar motions if the discovery is not being exchanged timely.

Cases tend to become more on both the prosecutor's and defense attorney's radar as the hearing date becomes closer. Especially if you have a public defender with a larger workload, you may not see a lot of movement forward on the case until closer to the time of the hearing.

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