Text us
Edelman, Krasin & Jaye, PLLC

New York lawmakers pass important criminal justice reforms

America’s criminal justice system operates on the principle that each defendant is innocent until proven guilty. From that perspective, prosecutors should not care about “winning” a case under any circumstances. They should care about doing justice.

Sadly, this isn’t always how things work. In fact, there have been many instances in which prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence (meaning evidence favorable to the defendant) in an effort to convict individuals – even in cases where the evidence showed that the defendant was innocent.

Although this practice was barred by a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, it remains all too common. But here in New York, powerful reform legislation was recently passed that gives defendants a much more even playing field by forcing prosecutors to disclose virtually all evidence gathered in the investigation, including:

  • 911 calls
  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Electronic recordings
  • Grand jury transcripts
  • Photographs from the crime scene
  • Lab reports
  • Evidence related to expert opinion and testimony

Under the new laws, prosecutors do not get to decide which evidence they believe is exculpatory. Instead, they need to turn over the entire evidence file. Moreover, the evidence must be turned over early in the process (within 15 days of arraignment), which is intended to fight the longstanding (and unethical) practice of “trial by ambush.” This occurs when prosecutors withhold certain evidence until late in the process, keeping defendants in the dark about their trial chances in an effort to force a guilty plea.

It is important to remember that a conviction alone isn’t justice. Indeed, convicting someone despite knowing (or strongly suspecting) he is innocent is the exact opposite of justice. Hopefully, this reform package will eliminate or greatly reduce the wrongful convictions that have been a stain on New York’s criminal justice system for decades. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email us for a response

Do You Need Assistance With Your Case?

We Can Help. Set Up Your Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

7001 Brush Hollow Rd
Ste 100
Westbury, NY 11590

Toll Free: 800-469-7429
Westbury Law Office Map

6 East 184th Street
Bronx, NY 10468

Toll Free: 800-469-7429
Map & Directions

1215 Suffolk Ave
Brentwood, NY 11717

Toll Free: 800-469-7429
Map & Directions

Hempstead Office
124 Greenwich St
Hempstead, NY 11550

Toll Free: 800-469-7429
Map & Directions

Our attorneys provide customized legal solutions in every case we handle. When you come to us for
assistance, know that you will get tailored advice that helps you make the best possible decisions for
your case.