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Discovery in Criminal Matters

In criminal matters, most discovery is managed through Standard Discovery Orders (SDO) that are part of the Local Rules, or the provisions for discovery in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. The District Clerk or the District Attorney can provide a copy of the SDO for your review. In Grimes County, the SDO is included in the Local Rules, and a copy may be obtained on this Website or from the District Clerk.

In addition to the provisions in the SDO, or TCCP procedures, defense counsel is welcome to file supplemental discovery motions and requests. However, each supplemental discovery motion or request must state how the particular request differs from the SDO or Code, and what the supplemental discovery is intended to produce. Certainly, trial tactics and strategy should not be disclosed; only the focus of the supplemental request. Absent an agreement from the State, counsel should be prepared to argue the position in court. Further, a certificate of conference should be included in the supplemental discovery motion stating the outcome of discussions between the defense and the State.

A Standard Discovery Order will not automatically be entered in every case that is filed. Defense counsel must request the entry of the SDO, which will then, in most circumstances, be entered. A request for the SDO may be done at Arraignment, at the Motions hearings and as late as the Pretrial hearing, so long as adequate time is allowed for compliance by the State before the case is called for trial.
Except in unusual circumstances, failure to timely present discovery issues will not be grounds for a trial continuance.
The State and Defense should become familiar with the need for defense disclosures to the State, as the Standard Discovery Order does cover that requirement.
 
It is important that defense counsel contact the District Attorney in order to obtain passwords and access to online discovery mandated under the "Michael Morton Act."