Monday, April 11, 2011
A Court Can Make a Prosecutor Turn over a Complainant's Video
Texas state judges have the power to require prosecutors to copy a sex assault complainant's video for the defense. Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Paul Womack wrote for a unanimous court save for the dissent of Presiding Judge Sharon Keller (When this opinion was handed down, the Court only had eight of its usual complement of nine judges. Retiring judge and former Deer Park corporation counsel Charles Holcombe was replaced late as an economy measure.) The majority held that the recording was non-privileged evidence to which the defense had a right. Presiding Judge Keller would have held that the recording was a "written" witness statement-- by statute, the State could have refused to release it.