Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Man Freed After Prosecutor Refuses to Turn Over Evidence
You can't defend yourself against criminal charges unless the police and the prosecution tell you what you've been charged with and provide you with the evidence that you need to prepare your defense.
The Federal and the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure require prosecutors to turn over evidence that is relevant to the defense's case preparation. But, the St. George Attorney's office refused to turn over the information they used to obtain a search warrant and information about a confidential informant after they had been requested under the Government Records Access Management Act.
The case was a federal prosecution, but the St. George attorney's office refused to comply with court orders that required them to turn the information over. Judge Dee Benson of the Utah Federal District Court permanently dismissed gun and drug charges that had been pending against Donald Gregory Edwards.
A Salt Lake Tribune story on the ruling can be found here.