Change in Criminal Jurisprudence Becomes Law.

 

House Bill 371 (HB371) brings historic change to the way criminal trials are handled in Louisiana.

  • HB 371 will require that law enforcement turn over all of the witness statements that would allow defense attorneys to see what everyone told police investigators.
  • HB 371 ensures that defendants can see police offense reports and witness statements; the analysis from law enforcement and experts.

 

 

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that HB371 provide uniformity and a similar procedure so that a person accused of a crime in a rural north Louisiana parish is treated the same as a defendant in an urban south Louisiana parish, said Rep. Lopinto, chairman of the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice.

The law requires prosecutors to turn over to the defense statements and evidence that would exonerate the defendants. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a half century ago that individual accused in a criminal case is entitled to review all evidence that could be considered “favorable” and could be “material” to the trial. There is no doubt that many jurisdictions around Louisiana already practice a form of what is known as “open files discovery,” but just what information was turned over, and how, differed between jurisdictions.

 There is no doubt that having access to the information gathered by law enforcement  which might be used against defendants at trial, helps the defense team better understand the case and gives them additional avenues to investigate possible a defense strategy.  Transparency allows for more efficient trials and fewer appeals after convictions.

 

 

About Martin E. Regan, Jr.

Year after year, Martin E. Regan Jr., the firm’s senior partner, has dedicated tireless efforts on behalf of the accused and produce wins for clients that a less determined advocate would have thought hopeless.  Martin E. Regan Jr.’s ability to tackle and win tough criminal cases has resulted in verdicts of acquittal in many highly publicized trials.