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Defendants Rights: What Right Do You Have to See the Evidence?

November 26th, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Illinois legal system, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer,Criminal defendants have some of the highest constitutional protections in the criminal justice system. The reason for these rights and protections is because the stakes are so high. If someone is convicted of a crime, they may not only lose their freedom, but also a host of other rights. One of the most important constitutional protections is the right to see the evidence against you. But, even this right has its limits.

Right to Exculpatory Evidence

The most basic right in a criminal trial is the right to see any exculpatory evidence. This means you have a right to see anything the prosecution has possession of, or knows about, that may show you are not guilty of the crime for which you are being charged. This right was laid out in the U.S. Supreme Court case called Brady V. Maryland.

Other Evidence Rights

You also have a constitutional right to confront any witnesses. This limits the use of out of court statements by the prosecution during your trial. You have the right to cross-examine witnesses. You also have a right to see what evidence the prosecution plans on presenting against you in most instances.

You have a right to challenge the prosecution’s evidence. For example, if the prosecution is going to have an expert testify about hair samples left at the scene, you can present your own expert witness or argue that the prosecution’s evidence is flawed.

What Defendants Do Not Have a Right to See

There are some things that as a criminal defendant you do not have a right to see before trial, or perhaps even at all. There may be some national security issues that limit your access to evidence.

More commonly, evidence called impeachment evidence does not have to be disclosed before trial. This is evidence that would show a witness was not telling the truth.

In some cases the identity of confidential informants may be protected and you will not have access to some information about these often key parts to the prosecution’s case.

Criminal charges are always a serious matter. If you have been accused or charged with a crime, you need to consult with a knowledgeable, tough, and experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer right away. Do not to talk to anyone about your case before you have talked to a lawyer. Your freedom could depend on it. Call to schedule a consultation today.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1966&ChapterID=54&SeqStart=3100000&SeqEnd=4200000

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