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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    6

    Default Discovery request disregarded in Pennsyvlania

    I wrote a letter to the ticketing officer that recently cited me in a speed trap, requesting his notes based on 'discovery' as I am pleading not guilty. He called me and said that because our case is criminal in nature, and not civil, that the discovery rule does not apply.

    Then he said "I'm just going to ignore this since it does not apply". And that was that. I cited the rules of discovery per the pa judicial code in my letter and wonder if he even spoke with anyone to verify if what he said was correct or if this is a clear violation of my rights.

    Any suggesstions? We are set to go to trial in two weeks and I am already set to ask for a continuance while I continue to prepare my diffense...

    Deenat, P.A.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
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    28,906

    Default Re: Discovery request disregarded in Pennsyvlania

    Did you cite a civil discovery rule, or a criminal discovery rule? Which specific rule or rules did you cite?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Practicing in Los Angeles, California
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    411

    Default Re: Discovery request disregarded in Pennsyvlania

    Quote Quoting Deenat
    I wrote a letter to the ticketing officer that recently cited me in a speed trap, requesting his notes based on 'discovery' as I am pleading not guilty. He called me and said that because our case is criminal in nature, and not civil, that the discovery rule does not apply.

    Then he said "I'm just going to ignore this since it does not apply". And that was that. I cited the rules of discovery per the pa judicial code in my letter and wonder if he even spoke with anyone to verify if what he said was correct or if this is a clear violation of my rights.

    Any suggesstions? We are set to go to trial in two weeks and I am already set to ask for a continuance while I continue to prepare my diffense...

    Deenat, P.A.

    My response:

    You more than probably sent your request to the wrong person. The officer is merely a "witness" in your prosecution. The person, I believe, you should have sent your discovery request to should have been the prosecutor's office.

    IAAL

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Discovery request disregarded in Pennsyvlania

    Hello,



    I actually cited PA Consolidated Statutes, Part I., Chapter 4000, 'Depositions and Discovery'. Per Rule 4003.3. 'Scope of Discovery and Trial Preparation Material Generally'.

    I figured since we are set to go to trial that this was correct and I did not see a deliniation between 'Civil' or 'Criminal' listed when I read the code on the Internet. I found this information while researching how to fight tickets in PA.

    I would also like to mention that he is not even the one who actually radared me, it was another officer in an unmarked vehicle that I never even saw. (41 in a 25/residential zone) Speed trap all the way! I'm still ready to do all that I can do to fight this as I have never, ever gotten a ticket in 18 years on the road and I was a bit taken at how rude this officer was.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Discovery request disregarded in Pennsyvlania

    Yes, in retrospect I did consider that as a possibility. Also, I think that I should have contacted the local court house to see if there is even a right to 'discovery' in the case of moving violations here in PA. After all this is a Commonwealth and I figure that does have an affect on local laws and ordinances.

    Thanks for feedback and I will look into who is the prosecutor for my upcoming court date(s).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Discovery request disregarded in Pennsyvlania

    Quote Quoting IAAL
    My response:

    You more than probably sent your request to the wrong person. The officer is merely a "witness" in your prosecution. The person, I believe, you should have sent your discovery request to should have been the prosecutor's office.

    IAAL
    IAAL,

    I just signed up for a continuance and found out that the prosecutor is the corporal who issued my citation?!? I thought that there would be an actual 'prosecutor' per say, as I was prepared to submit another request for discovery to present at my upcoming trial citing the PA Pa.R.Crim.P. 573. Regarding informal discovery.

    Now my goose is really cooked because I have a feeling that this officer has it in for me because no one in this area ever fights tickets and he probably never had anyone ask for his notes before. Is it common practice to not have a prosecutor present? Does it have something to do with the fact that I am going before a magistrate and not a judge? I wonder...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    643

    Default Re: Discovery request disregarded in Pennsyvlania

    Something does not seem quite right here. I do not see how the prosecutor and the police officer can be one and the same--would present a conflict to say the least--there has to be a disconnect here. What you might try to do is to call the court clerk where your ticket is to be heard and ask him/her who is the prosecutor/deputy prosecuting attorney/assistant district attorney/assistant city attorney or whatever other label that applies to him/her that is going to be prosecuting the case.

    Normally, a discovery request is a formal motion that is filed with the court and served upon the prosecuting attorney. In most states you would be entitled to certain things upon filing a motion for discovery and then you may be able to receive further discovery information in the court's discretion if the prosecution does not believe such information should be provided. If the prosecutor does not respond to your motion for discovery or does not provide you with the information you have requested what is normally done is that you follow that with a motion to compel discovery to have the court make a ruling as to whether the prosecutor must supply the requested information--generally courts stay out of discovery issues unless one party or the other asks the courts to intervene.

    And the other posts are correct in that the discovery motion is not directed to witnesses, but rather to the attorneys for the respective parties.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Discovery request disregarded in Pennsyvlania

    Something does not seem quite right here. I do not see how the prosecutor and the police officer can be one and the same--would present a conflict to say the least--there has to be a disconnect here.
    This is the standard in a lot of states at the traffic court level.

    The one important thing is the identity of the other trooper. Both must be present to testify. One as to your speed and the other that you were the driver of the vehicle.

    Many states do not allow discovery at the traffic court level. You have to file an FOI or subpoena the information to court. There have been a lot of problems with the radar units being used in PA. Here's the link
    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/06/619.asp

    Suggest that you try for a "failure to obey traffic control" violation which is no points.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6

    Red face Re: Discovery request disregarded in Pennsyvlania

    Yes, I am going to try for "failure to obey traffic control" (PA 3111a) which would not carry points. I never was informed of the exact location of the another officer in the 'unmarked' car but his name is on the citation.

    Thanks for the feedback and the link, I am playing a waiting game of sorts and will find out soon what my new court date will be.

    Deenat

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Discovery request disregarded in Pennsyvlania

    Does anyone know how accurate more or less the different types of speeding devices are? I was clocked with ESP, but I also see Radar, (which I know is questionable), Vascar, Clocked, A.O.V., and 'Other' listed on the citation that I recently got.

    I have been reading up this and find that there are many discrepancies in almost all methods, however, some seem more unreliable than others which could be an advantage to those who wish to pursue fighting their tickets.

    Deenat

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