Police Notes in Denver Drug Cases and How you can Get Them

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In Denver Drug Cases, one of the strongest pieces of evidence will be notes that police officers made about statements and actions that a defendant made. These notes are seldomly included in discovery in Denver Drug Cases and will need to be directly requested by your Criminal Defense Attorney.

Under normal circumstances, these notes are discoverable as long as they are in the possession of the police department. One noteable exception to this is that, “Although statements within the possession of the police have been deemed to be “within the possession or control of the district attorney,” such statements are within the prosecuting attorney’s possession or control only if the police who possess the statements are the police in the county or district of trial.” People v. Garcia.

Also, prosecutors will typically make arguments along the lines that they did not know that a note was in existence. When this type of argument is made, the defense attorney should remember and argue that the “knowledge of the existence of the card is imputed to the district attorney by the terms of the discovery order itself and as a matter of law.”

Next, though the notes are discoverable “if they are in substance recitals of oral statements made by witnesses,” they are not discoverable if they are work product by the officer. Therefore, in more substantial cases it may make sense to seek an in-camera hearing to redact the work product and thereby retain the notes that constitute the recitals of the witnesses.

Last, it is important to know that police officers will be writing down information about a defendant’s conduct at the time of arrest. This is important because courts have held that “the defendant’s conduct at the time of arrest may properly be shown as a circumstance tending to show consciousness of guilt.” People v. Summitt. This type of information, regarding defendant conduct, is often left out of police reports or notes and only comes out once the officer is testifying. As such, it is important to try to get any information about conduct or statements through a preliminary hearing or at a motions hearing. That way, you will be able to prepare for the statements and conduct before trial and have the nature of the conduct narrowed down so that you can impeach the officer if he says your conduct or statements went above and beyond the testimony he offered at a prior hearing.

In other words, it pays to be silent and not to cause a scene. Then, when the case has been filed, your Denver Drug Attorney will have the opportunity to go through all of the statements that were made in your case, with you, and will not have to deal with circumstantial evidence like “running from the scene” so that you can get a fair shot at trial.

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

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Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca