The basic tenet of the American legal system is that everyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty. One of the ways that someone can be proven innocent or guilty is by the information discovered in connection to the alleged crime. Referred to as discovery, this process works by both sides gathering physical, DNA, scientific, forensic and other types of evidence. It also involves interviewing witnesses to gain testimonials for both sides.
What can be revealed in the discovery process?
The prosecution and defense can employ a few methods when they need to gather information. They can speak with witnesses, request physical evidence, send a written questionnaire to someone involved in the case, or request the opposing side to prove certain evidence is genuine.
Some types of information that can be revealed in discovery include:
- Personal background of a witness
- Anything heard, seen, or done by a witness connected to the case
- Documents related to the case
- Identity of anyone involved in the case
- Information about a business and how it affects the case
While there are many ways to obtain information, there are limits to what is allowed in the discovery process. Privileged and legally protected information is inadmissible in court. Examples of undiscoverable information includes confidential conversations (such as those between a husband and a wife or a lawyer and a client) or very personal information that is not related to the case at all, such as health or body issues of a witness. In addition, the information that can be revealed about third parties and the information that is revealed to the public may be limited by the court depending on their relevance to the case.
With so much information involved in a criminal case, it is important to know what can be affected by the discovery process. Some details cannot be revealed while other news can be broadcasted as part of the case. If you or a loved one are worried about the type of information that may be discovered in connection with a criminal case, retain the legal services of a Tampa criminal defense attorney at Thomas & Paulk. For a free case evaluation, call our offices today.