In 2009, The Legal Aid Society issued a report entitled Criminal Discovery Reform in New York: A Proposal to Repeal C.P.L. Article 240 and to Enact a New C.P.L. Article 245. Our report advocated that New York State’s outmoded and unfair criminal discovery rules in Criminal Procedure Law Article 240 should be replaced by a modern discovery statute. We suggested the full statutory language for a new C.P.L. “Article 245.” Detailed explanatory commentaries after each provision described its purpose, its contents, and the current New York law it would supersede. The report also marshaled the main arguments for criminal discovery reform in a nine-page essay; and it surveyed discovery rules and practices in comparable States that have successfully practiced more fair and more efficient criminal discovery for years. The full 150-page report is available here.
In 2010, we revised the statutory language of our proposed C.P.L. “Article 245” to incorporate suggestions and address concerns raised by various interested parties. The changes can be clearly seen in the “redline” version of “Article 245” that is available here. This 39-page document also includes additional information that may be useful in evaluating our proposal: a one-page synopsis of key provisions in “Article 245”; a three-page summary of the main reasons for criminal discovery reform in New York; and a survey of the rules currently employed in other States regarding discovery of witnesses’ names and addresses, which provides national context for one issue in the discussion.
We hope that this modified proposal for a new “Article 245” represents a substantial step in the focused negotiations, open-minded and creative discussions, and reasonable compromises that will lead to meaningful criminal discovery reform. We look forward to working together with all of the interested parties to achieve this vital, decades-overdue goal.
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