January 17, 2010 By Wallin & Klarich

As discussed in yesterday’s blog, a recent court decision has held that documents the defense subpoenaed do not always need to be viewed by the prosecuting agency.

Consistent with Evidence Code section 1560, subdivision (d), the trial court may open the sealed envelopes containing records produced in response to defense subpoenas without disclosing to the prosecution the identity of the third parties or the nature of the documents. If the court has questions concerning the relevance of the documents produced, the court should conduct an in camera hearing in the presence of defense counsel only. Before deciding whether the defense is entitled to receive the subpoenaed documents, the trial court may ask the prosecution questions it deems appropriate to protect the privacy rights of parties subpoenaed. The court acknowledged that this requires great care because it must do so in a manner that does not prejudice the defense.

If the trial court determines in camera that the documents the defense has subpoenaed are not relevant, the prosecution’s participation is not necessary. If the court determines in camera that the documents are relevant, the prosecution will see them in due time if the defense uses them at trial. The court’s in camera ruling on relevance, however, does not forestall the prosecution from objecting to the admission of the evidence on relevancy or other grounds at trial.

The Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are well aware of the prosecution’s sometimes annoying tactic of pressing defense attorneys to turn over everything they have. The law does not require this and the experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have the skill and expertise to recognize what is relevant and what is not. Our expertise will help us give you the best possible defense. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can be reached by phone at 1-888-280-6839 or through our website at www.wklaw.com.

Check our blog tomorrow for more information on subpoenaed documents.

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