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The Champion

March 2019 , Page 40 

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A Client’s Right to Have Copies of the Evidence

By Lisa J. Steele

A defense attorney has just received a large package of discovery1 from the prosecutor. It is going to take a long time to go over it with the incarcerated client. In some jurisdictions, counsel can send physical copies of the discovery to the client or electronic copies of the discovery to the client’s facility. In some federal courts and a few states, counsel can be forbidden to give the client copies of the discovery: counsel and her staff must chaperone the discovery, even if that means the client can hand copy everything counsel brings to her. To the client, this will seem like a pointless exercise in formalism, especially if the client can obtain the same records through public records requests or by sending a family member to the clerk’s office at the courthouse. Violating such restrictions, however, puts the defense lawyer and the client at risk.2 

This problem arose in Connecticut in State v. Fuller.3 Connecticut Practice Book § 40-10 and § 40-13A prohibit counsel from giving c

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