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Compulsive discovery in Texas criminal prosecutions is far from the process guaranteed in the Sixth Amendment. Judges require a motion for production of exculpatory evidence before they will order the items turned over to defense attorneys for “just cause.” No arrest or offense reports are required to be presented, as well as lists of witnesses or their statements. Attorneys may only view the material and make handwritten notes at the discretion of the District Attorney as a matter of policy. But four defendants falsely accused and convicted of murder have recently been released after languishing behind prison bars for decades because prosecutors mislaid or withheld vital evidence. Some prosecutors have joined the defense bar in the hue and cry for change to the existing procedure.
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