Briefcase: Digitizing Discovery in Criminal Matters

Guest: Meredith Duncan


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In criminal cases, the prosecution is constitutionally required to disclose only certain evidence to the defendant. Open file discovery requires the prosecution to open virtually all its files. Meredith Duncan, with The University of Houston Law Center, teaches criminal law. She discusses the best way to ensure fair trials using open file discovery.

"By digitizing open file systems, information from law enforcement agencies is connected, electronically stored and provided to the defense. When no one is in the dark about evidence, more reliable results occur, and fewer wrongful convictions result."

"Texas has enacted The Michael Morton Act, requiring open file discovery. This act, however, does not mandate digitization. At least two Texas counties have moved to an electronic system. Their successes serve as examples of how digitizing it can lead to fairer trials."