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Criminal Law

2017

Discovery (Law)

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The Fragile Promise Of Open-File Discovery, Ben Grunwald Jan 2017

The Fragile Promise Of Open-File Discovery, Ben Grunwald

Faculty Scholarship

Under traditional rules of criminal discovery, defendants are entitled to little prosecutorial evidence and are thus forced to negotiate plea agreements and prepare for trial in the dark. In an effort to expand defendants’ discovery rights, a number of states have recently enacted “open-file” statutes, which require the government to share the fruits of its investigation with the defense. Legal scholars have widely supported these reforms, claiming that they level the playing field and promote judicial efficiency by decreasing trials and speeding up guilty pleas. But these predictions are based largely on intuition and anecdotal data without extended theoretical analysis …