A Discovery Motion can be a significant portion of pre-trial litigation in Criminal Defense cases. Specifically, if an accused’s attorney does not make specific requests for discovery in Criminal Defense Cases via a Discovery Motion, then he might not be able to argue that he should have been given certain items of Discovery pursuant to the Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 573. Generally speaking, there are two different types of Discovery that are discussed in Pa Rule of Criminal Procedure 573. Read about Preliminary Hearings Mandatory discovery, items which the government shall disclose so long as they are requested by the accused’s attorney and Discovery items that are left up to the discretion of the court.
Examples of discovery items that are required to be disclosed so long as they are requested by the defense attorney are discussed on PA. Rule of Criminal Procedure 573. They specifically are: read about guilty pleas
(a) Any evidence favorable to the accused that is material either to guilt or to punishment, and possessed by the attorney for the Commonwealth;
(b) any written confession or inculpatory statement, in the possession or control of the attorney for the Commonwealth;
(c) the defendant’s prior criminal record;
(d) the circumstances and results of any identification of the defendant;
(e) any results or reports of scientific tests, expert opinions, and written or recorded of the defendant that are within the possession or control of the Commonwealth;
(f) any tangible objects, including documents, photographs, fingerprints, or other tangible evidence; and
(g) the transcripts and recordings of any electronic surveillance.
Examples of discovery items that are discretionary with the court are:
(i) the names and addresses of eyewitnesses;
(ii) all written or recorded statements of eyewitnesses the government intends to call at trial;
(iii) all written and recorded statements, made by co-defendants, and by co-conspirators regardless of whether such individuals have been charged or not; and
(iv) any other evidence specifically identified by the defendant that the defendant can show should be disclosed as a result of the interests of justice.