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New discovery reforms creating extra work for New York State Police

Jill Konopka
Updated: January 22, 2020 09:02 PM
Created: January 22, 2020 05:27 PM

The new bail reform laws could mean more work for police agencies across the state, including the New York State Police.

13 Investigates tracked down a copy of a new 15-page document created for the New York State Police called a Case Discovery Checklist.

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All law enforcement agencies are required to gather the evidence of a criminal case within a 15-day timeframe as part of New York's new bail reforms that began January 1, 2020 - allowing the sharing of evidence between prosecutors and the defense within that window.

This specific checklist is only for State Troopers. It outlines everything that needs to be gathered including physical, written, and technological evidence to 911 calls, radio transmissions and many more items you can check out below.

Concerns have been raised to NewsChannel 13 these added responsibilities are keeping law enforcement officers off the streets, and protecting the public to sitting at a computer processing, gathering and collecting all the necessary paperwork.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares confirms his office has received 19 of these documents from state police since the bail reforms started in 2020, requiring all 21 factors of these new statutes to be complied within that 15-day timeframe.

"But we've only been able to certify on one case, so there is definitely a work flow issue here to make sure in addition to the checklist that indicates what's been collected. We need to make sure the actual items collected get here. That's essential because that document doesn't do us any good in front of a judge as we're trying to certify writings. So there are still some challenges here. This is a tremendous undertaking for the men and women on the street patrolling our roads and it's a tremendous undertaking just to deliver that level of documentation within the time period that's allowed," said Soares.

He confirms to 13 Investigates his office has asked for 32 additional staffers to come through all of these records and so far they've brought in nine extra people. Additionally, the District Attorney's office is asking all law enforcement agencies to hand over all materials in the first week, so if there are issues they can be fixed and still meet the new deadline.

DA Soares added, "There needs to be a massive insurgency of bodies to address work flow, I understand the state police, they're a state agency so they may be limited with respect to what they're able to say, but I'm not. The reality is we need more personnel the District Attorney's Office needs more personnel, the agencies on the front lines need more personnel."

MORE INFORMATION: Case Discovery Checklist


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