One of the common issues that happens to me shortly before a criminal trial is the evidence dump. The assistant district attorney starts working their case and discovers evidence that was known or should have been known. In some cases, new evidence is turned over to the defense days before trial. It happens all the time. In my first murder case, my theory was that the decedent committed suicide. On the Friday before the trial at 4:00 P.M. the prosecutors disclosed the presence of suicidal ideations. The court refused to continue the case so I could review the medical records.


How to prevent the evidence dump ? File a motion. Under Rule 12(D)4 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure , the court can order to disclose what evidence it intends to introduce during the trial. I have put in the order they must disclose the list of evidence 90 days prior to trial. The reason for the disclosure is to litigate it’s admissibility prior to trial. Just referencing what is provided in discovery is insufficient under State of Tennessee v. Giannini. I am now filing this motion when I file my request for discovery. all evidence should be disclosed in a timely fashion. The state must be held accountable. Here is the essence of the rule;

d) Notice by the State of the Intention to Use Evidence.

(1) At the State’s Discretion. At the arraignment or as soon afterward as practicable, the state may notify the defendant of its intent to use specified evidence at trial in order to afford the defendant an opportunity to object before trial under Rule 12(b)(2)(C).

(2) At the Defendant’s Request. At the arraignment or as soon afterward as practicable, in order to afford an opportunity to move to suppress evidence the defendant may request notice of the state’s intent to use (in its evidence in chief at trial) any evidence that the defendant may be entitled to discover under Rule 16, subject to any relevant limitations prescribed in Rule 16

I am putting a sample motion on my website in the next few days.