Criminal Defense: Discovery Information and Police Reports

Discovery material is the material gathered by the state and the defendant that is relevant to the case at hand. This material is provided by one side to the other side, so both parties can fully review the information. The material found in a discovery usual includes police reports, physical evidence and information about witnesses. The volume of discovery material varies by case, and can range from three pages to three boxes to three rooms of information.
Discovery material is the material gathered by the state and the defendant that is relevant to the case at hand. This material is provided by one side to the other side, so both parties can fully review the information. The material found in a discovery usual includes police reports, physical evidence and information about witnesses. The volume of discovery material varies by case, and can range from three pages to three boxes to three rooms of information.

Discovery material should be diligently reviewed, looking for relevant and valuable information relating to the case. Discovery material itself should be evaluated, for the overall quality of the document and the content within the document. Discovery material can have quite a lifespan, and can appear throughout the life of a case, including the primary trial, subsequent trials, appeals and reviews. Due to the long life of the discovery material, the defense especially, should know the material inside and out. Usually the party with most relevant working knowledge of the discovery material wins the case.

Often times the volume of discovery material is quite large and overwhelming. The material can quickly pile up, making it difficult to sift through it and pay due diligence to each page of information. As an unfortunate result, sometimes discovery material is overlooked. Overlooked discovery material is often times what leads to a wrongful conviction of a defendant.

One type of information, typically found within discovery material, is police reports documenting the initial situation or event. Police reports include basic factual information about the parties involved and a description of the situation or events that occurred. In order to increase efficiency while recording and documenting the situation or event, police reports contain coded boxes with abbreviations. These coded boxes can be foreign to non police officers viewing the report. Investigators and attorneys should learn to decipher these coded boxes of information so they can quickly and accurately review discovery material.

Police reports also contain numbers identifying the police officers who were present at the scene and recorded the report information. A list of the identifying numbers and the associated names should also be obtained for the purposes of discovery. This information can typically be obtained by calling the police station and requesting it.

Once the police report has been fully deciphered, it should be read in full and analyzed. Any photos, tape recordings, video tapes and other evidence listed in the police report should be reviewed and compared to the information found within the police report. The names of witnesses and contacts should be noted and organized. Their contact and location information should also be noted and organized. If the contact and location information does not appear within the report, it should be requested from the police station. Once the police report and its contents have been thoroughly analyzed and reviewed, the viewer can then determine if there are any missing or incomplete documents. The viewer should have access to all police reports related to the case.

Reading and reviewing discovery material can be a difficult and tedious task, simply due to the volume of information. The side with the most commanding and accurate knowledge of the discovery material usually wins the case. Thus each page of information within the discovery should be reviewed, analyzed and organized in order to ensure the best chance of winning the case.


Pennington & Associates ltd. provides criminal defense investigation services. Private investigators are available for immediate service in Ohio throughout the cities of Ironton, Portsmouth, Gallipolis, Jackson, Chillicothe, Cincinnati, Columbus, and surrounding areas. Service is immediately available in West Virginia throughout the cities of Huntington, Charleston, and surrounding areas.
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