Task Force on Criminal Discovery

Mission Statement/Stated Purpose  

New York State Bar Association Task Force on Criminal Discovery

(September 2012)

            Litigants in civil lawsuits in New York State have the opportunity by way of the process referred to as “discovery and inspection” or “disclosure” to learn about facts and evidence forming the basis for the other side’s case.  

            Under New York’s criminal discovery statute, however, defendants are often denied access to comparable information.  Furthermore, important materials that are disclosed are often turned over at a very late stage of the case.

            In order to identify and address issues necessary to enhance the fair and effective operation of the criminal justice system in New York State, the Task Force shall consider and examine all issues it deems necessary, including but not limited to those topics set forth below. 

           The Task Force shall consider all appropriate statutes and standards of criminal discovery implemented by other states and the federal government. 

           Furthermore, the Task Force shall consider the following: 

  • Amendment of New York State’s Criminal Procedure Law regarding early, broad, and automatic discovery in criminal cases;
  • Providing the Defendant with the names, addresses, and statements of witnesses;
  • “Open-file discovery”; 
  • Disclosure of information to only defense attorneys;
  • Discovery before pleas of “guilty”;
  • Reciprocal disclosure by defense attorneys;
  • Deposition of witnesses;
  • Disclosure of information or evidence that tends to negate guilt or mitigate culpability;
  • How to expedite the flow of information between police and prosecutors.

            The Report and Recommendations of the Task Force shall be submitted to the Executive Committee and/or House of Delegates, as directed by the President.

Committee Roster