1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Question about how witness lists work in court.

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Ryan Elder, Aug 20, 2016.

    I was wondering if anyone knows, when a prosecutor receives the witness list from the defense attorney, does it say on the list why the witnesses are being called, and what they know? Or does a prosecutor have to find out in other ways, such as calling the attorney and asking, or waiting till the preliminary hearing?

    Thanks a lot for the input. I really appreciate it.
     
  2. TonyS
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    TonyS New Member

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    You do not typically say the purpose of the proposed testimony. It usually just gives identifiers, such as Lt. David Smith, Roseville Police Department.
    or Dr. William Shapiro, DO, Children's Hospital Youth Abuse Unit
     
  3. TonyS
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    TonyS New Member

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    If a person has a problem with a proposed witness the parties will often discuss it before hand. If they have a problem with a witness being called, they will usually address it with the judge through a motion, or at a sidebar before the hearing/trial.
     
  4. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. So if a prosecutor wanted to know why a witness is being called, then would he go out to question the witness himself before the preliminary hearing?
     
  5. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    The prosecution and the defense are required to share EVERYTHING with each other in the US. Everything the defense has, the prosecution has, and vice versa.
     
  6. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. But TonyS said that the attorney just has to give the names of the witnesses. So if this is true, where is the line drawn between how much about the witness is going to say, has to be shared before testifying?
     
  7. TonyS
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    TonyS New Member

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    Perhaps this would help: Here's the Michigan court rule regarding "discovery." Note, the difference between "lay" and "expert" witnesses. In most cases, the parties already anticipate or know the general reason for calling the witness, but with expert witnesses, you do need to provide notice if you intend to introduce reports, etc.

    Subchapter 6.200 Discovery Rule 6.201 Discovery

    (A) Mandatory Disclosure. In addition to disclosures required by provisions of law other than MCL 767.94a, a party upon request must provide all other parties: (1) the names and addresses of all lay and expert witnesses whom the party may call at trial; in the alternative, a party may provide the name of the witness and make the witness available to the other party for interview; the witness list may be amended without leave of the court no later than 28 days before trial; (2) any written or recorded statement, including electronically recorded statements, pertaining to the case by a lay witness whom the party may call at trial, except that a defendant is not obliged to provide the defendant's own statement; (3) the curriculum vitae of an expert the party may call at trial and either a report by the expert or a written description of the substance of the proposed testimony of the expert, the expert's opinion, and the underlying basis of that opinion; (4) any criminal record that the party may use at trial to impeach a witness; (5) a description or list of criminal convictions, known to the defense attorney or prosecuting attorney, of any witness whom the party may call at trial; and (6) a description of and an opportunity to inspect any tangible physical evidence that the party may introduce at trial, including any document, photograph, or other paper, with copies to be provided on request. A party may request a hearing regarding any question of costs of reproduction, including the cost of providing copies of electronically recorded statements. On good cause shown, the court may order that a party be given the opportunity to test without destruction any tangible physical evidence.

    (B) Discovery of Information Known to the Prosecuting Attorney. Upon request, the prosecuting attorney must provide each defendant: (1) any exculpatory information or evidence known to the prosecuting attorney; (2) any police report and interrogation records concerning the case, except so much of a report as concerns a continuing investigation; (3) any written or recorded statements, including electronically recorded statements, by a defendant, codefendant, or accomplice pertaining to the case, even if that person is not a prospective witness at trial; (4) any affidavit, warrant, and return pertaining to a search or seizure in connection with the case; and (5) any plea agreement, grant of immunity, or other agreement for testimony in connection with the case.
     
  8. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Full disclosure is "required" but both sides frequently play games - generally consisting of either swamping the important info in unimportant dross (e.g naming everyone mentioned in the case file as a potential witness leaving the other side to pick out who is important , or burying an important piece of paper in reams and reams of unimportant crap which every case generates) , or instructing investigators not to shasre important info with the lawyer/DA until the last minute as he doesnt have to disclose what he doesnt know about
     
  9. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    Yup, but the intent of the rules is that no one is surprised.
     
  10. TonyS
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    TonyS New Member

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    Yes, of course. But the reality is that most witness lists are vague in nature.
     
    big soft moose likes this.

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