In Oregon, prosecutors must provide copies of documents and evidence that they are using to prosecute people who have been charged with crimes to their defense lawyers. This is meant to help defendants to understand the evidence that is being used against them and to build defense cases against their charges.
The process of providing evidence and information to defense lawyers is called discovery. Information and evidence that is not disclosed might be excluded from any trial. When prosecutors fail to disclose mitigating evidence to defense lawyers, it can also lead to wrongful convictions. Prosecutors have a duty to provide the evidence to defense lawyers and can face sanctions when they fail to do so.
Defendants do not have to provide the same types of documents and evidence to prosecutors. However, they might be required to notify the prosecutors of their intention to raise certain defenses such as insanity, alibi, or self-defense. This is meant to allow the prosecutors to investigate. Defense attorneys likewise use disclosures by the prosecutor to help them to investigate the charges against their clients.
People who are facing criminal charges might want to retain experienced criminal defense lawyers as soon as possible after they have been charged. Hiring an attorney may help people to make sure that they receive all of the disclosures that the prosecutors are supposed to make and to navigate the criminal justice system/criminal defense methods. A defense lawyer may review the evidence and documents to identify problems with the state’s case against his or her client. He or she may file evidentiary motions to seek to suppress evidence that has been gathered unconstitutionally and notify the court if the prosecutor is failing to make the required disclosures. A criminal defense lawyer may also work with investigators to find witnesses that could be helpful to his or her client’s defense cases.