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what are my rights to disclosure or any rights to get information…

Customer Question
what are my rights to...
what are my rights to disclosure or any rights to get information reguarding an on going court case the people vs paul ------- for attempted murder and intent to inflict great bodily harm to juan ----- a 17 year old left with a traumatic brain injury. i am his mom and im not getting straight answers and court proceedings start next week . I was not a witness to the assault. The DA wants me to testify to the way it has affected him and his whole family. Is this not the equivalent of a impact statement? Please help me find out this information.
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Criminal Law
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Answered in 9 minutes by:
6/23/2010
Criminal Lawyer: Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor replied 8 years ago
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,866
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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FranL :

Hello,


 

Customer:

hi

FranL :

Which US state is involved in this case? Is the case about to go to trial, or is it at an earlier stage in the proceedings?

Customer:

Sonoma , ca picking jury and told me it should start next week apprx tues or wensday.

FranL :

And if I've got this right, you're the mother of the victim of the crime?

Customer:

yes , i wasent a witness but they want me to testify. I dont know the seven names of the gang menbers who attacked my son , and because they want to use me to testify on the impact of this TBinjury they say I cant go to the court proceedings that means I have no one to go it doesnet feel right.

Customer:

isent that i

Customer:

the equivalent of an impact statement?

FranL :

I understand. You want to be there for your son. But you will probably make a better contribution to his case by just coming in and testifying. Strictly speaking, if you weren't a witness you're not absolutely necessary.

Customer:

by the waythank you for taking my question

FranL :

But the jury will be very sympathetically inclined towards you, and that will help your son when the jury gets to deliberate.

Customer:

what information do I have a right to now or after the case ?

Customer:

i want to do the best for him. will I ever get information on this case?

FranL :

Is your son able to testify despite his injuries? If not, or if his testimony is going to be limited because of his injuries, you'd be important to establish how seriously he was harmed.

FranL :

Unfortunately, though you are the mother of the victim, you have no more rights to know about this than any other witness for the prosecution does right now.

FranL :

All of the trial preparation and investigation is protected information.

Customer:

your right on he money. my son does'nt speak well and he has hemiparesis he speaks very little one word and not always understandable

FranL :

But the DA will prepare you before taking the stand and should address your most pressing concerns.

Customer:

when do I have a right to iformation to this case? after it is done?

FranL :

You'd be able to get a transcript of the whole proceeding once it's all over, assuming you wanted to pay for it -- I don't know that the state would provide it gratis. Unless, of course, there would be a full acquittal, which seems unlikely to me.

Customer:

what is discovery?

FranL :

So yes, somebody's got to be able to testify to what your son used to be able to do and can't do now. It would establish a baseline to which the jury could apply the medical information.

FranL :

Discovery is all of the police reports, grand jury minutes, medical reports, lab reports, etc. that go along with the case.

Customer:

is it possible to request discovery after the case?

FranL :

You can request it then. As much as I know you'd like to see it now, you don't want to have the defense lawyer claiming during the trial that you have had the opportunity to conform your testimony to the documents the DA has. Do you understand why that's important?

Customer:

yes

FranL :

I thought you would, and this is why you're being kept more in the dark than you want to be. I'm sure you want these defendants convicted, and so you have to be in a position where your testimony isn't tainted. The DA will be allowed to prepare you for testifying so that you get comfortable with the kinds of questions he need to ask you, but he's not going to open his casefile to you.

Customer:

ok i just am the type of person that needs to know my rights and yes I'm very in the dark

FranL :

Understood. This is not an easy time for you on any level. I would expect -- though I can't promise it -- that most defense lawyers will cross-examine you carefully and lightly, if that's of any reassurance to you. To do otherwise would probably be to alienate the jury, and no lawyer wants to do that.

Customer:

so does that mean that the lawer for the other party will ask me questions also?

FranL :

Yes. If you are testifying at trial the defense lawyer has the right to cross examine you. If there are seven defense lawyers, all 7 may ask you questions. But since you did not witness the incident, I don't expect you'll be on the stand very long.

FranL :

You are needed because the medical reports will show what happened to him, but you can say what his health and behavior was like beforehand.

Customer:

ok thank you very much for your help!

FranL :

I'm sorry to hear about your son. I hope you get some justice for him here, and I hope I"ve been reassuring.

FranL :

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work

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