Criminal Law Newsletters

Alternate Discovery Methods for a Defendant

A defendant is entitled to conduct discovery prior to his criminal trial. There are numerous alternative methods in which the defendant may conduct discovery in order to obtain information prior to his trial.

Bail or Jail

After a defendant is arrested, he or she is required to appear before a judge or magistrate. At this time, the defendant may request or a judge may set bail for the defendant's release. Bail is cash or a cash equivalent that is given to the court to ensure that he or she will appear in court when ordered. If the defendant appears when he or she was ordered to, bail is refunded. However, if he or she fails to appear, the court keeps the bail and issues a warrant for his or her arrest.

Joinder of Offenses

If a defendant is charged with multiple offenses, the prosecution may file a motion to join the offenses in order for the defendant to be tried in a single proceeding. Although some prejudice may result from permitting the joinder of offenses, the judicial economy of joinder may outweigh any potential prejudice a jury may have if the defendant is charged with more than one offense. It is within a trial court's discretion to grant or deny a motion to join offenses. The defendant may also request to join her offenses; however most often the prosecution is the party seeking the join the defendant's offenses.

Prosecutors, Immunity and Conflicts of Interests

The prosecutor has immunity from civil liability for actions undertaken during their official duties. The prosecutor enjoys both absolute and qualified immunity. The prosecutor has absolute immunity in initiating a prosecution and in presenting the State's case, so long as the prosecutor's actions are done in conformity with the judicial process.

Tax Fraud and Corporate Criminal Liability

A corporation may be potentially criminally liable for tax fraud committed by a director, officer, or employee. Basically, the general concept for corporate criminal liability is that a corporation may be found liable for committing criminal offenses when an employee, officer, or director of the corporation commits the criminal offense. Some jurisdictions still apply the common law theory that a corporation cannot be liable for a crime because it is unable to commit a crime in its corporate capacity.