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Discovery

Per Penal Code sections 1054 and 1054.1 you do not subpoena evidence for a traffic infraction trial, you use the less formal discovery process by serving the request on the prosecuting attorney.

Per Government Code section 26500 the prosecuting attorney is the District Attorney (or in some cases the City Attorney).

Many (i.e., most) District Attorneys will refuse to acknowledge their responsibility to comply with the Discovery Request and will refer you to the issuing agency or elsewhere to get the information. It is not your job to get this information. It is the prosecuting attorney's duty to provide the information. Therefore, we highly recommend that you use the cover letter for the request.

Choose the appropriate forms from the list below and download them.

FORM FORMAT
NEW Cover Letter Word 97 RTF
Red Light Camera Word 97 RTF
Speed Trap -- for any speeding case which involves radar or laser and a prima facie speed limit. Word 97 RTF
Radar or Laser -- for any speeding case which involves radar or laser and a maximum, not a prima facie speed limit. Word 97 RTF
Speed Pace -- for any speeding case which does not involve radar or laser. Word 97 RTF
Basic -- for all other cases. Word 97 RTF
You will also need the form for
Proof of Service.
Word 97 RTF

Once you have filled in the cover letter and appropriate Discovery Request, have someone else (e.g., a friend) fill in the Proof of Service. Make three copies of each document then have the person doing the service mail the originals of all documents (i.e., cover letter, request and proof of service) to the court, and one full set of the copies to the prosecuting attorney (DA's addresses here). Use certified mail, return receipt requested for the DA's copies. Keep the other two sets of copies for your records.

NOTE:

While you do not have to use the discovery process, the cover letter and requests are written in such a way that if the prosecuting attorney fails to comply you have grounds for dismissal.

This is the reason you want to have copies of the documents to take to court.

FYI:

Penal Code
1054. This chapter shall be interpreted to give effect to all of the following purposes:
(a) To promote the ascertainment of truth in trials by requiring timely pretrial discovery.
(b) To save court time by requiring that discovery be conducted informally between and among the parties before judicial enforcement is requested.
(c) To save court time in trial and avoid the necessity for frequent interruptions and postponements.
(d) To protect victims and witnesses from danger, harassment, and undue delay of the proceedings.
(e) To provide that no discovery shall occur in criminal cases except as provided by this chapter, other express statutory provisions, or as mandated by the Constitution of the United States.

1054.1. The prosecuting attorney shall disclose to the defendant or his or her attorney all of the following materials and information, if it is in the possession of the prosecuting attorney or if the prosecuting attorney knows it to be in the possession of the investigating agencies:
(a) The names and addresses of persons the prosecutor intends to call as witnesses at trial.
(b) Statements of all defendants.
(c) All relevant real evidence seized or obtained as a part of the investigation of the offenses charged.
(d) The existence of a felony conviction of any material witness whose credibility is likely to be critical to the outcome of the trial.
(e) Any exculpatory evidence.
(f) Relevant written or recorded statements of witnesses or reports of the statements of witnesses whom the prosecutor intends to call at the trial, including any reports or statements or experts made in conjunction with the case, including the results of physical or mental examinations, scientific test, experiments, or comparisons which the prosecutor intends to offer in evidence at the trial.

1054.5. (b) Before a party may seek court enforcement of any of the disclosures required by this chapter, the party shall make an informal request of opposing counsel for the desired materials and information. If within 15 days the opposing counsel fails to provide the materials and information requested, the party may seek a court order. Upon a showing that a party has not complied with Section 1054.1 or 1054.3 and upon a showing that the moving party complied with the informal discovery procedure provided in this subdivision, a court may make any order necessary to enforce the provisions of this chapter, including, but not limited to, immediate disclosure, contempt proceedings, delaying or prohibiting the testimony of a witness or the presentation of real evidence, continuance of the matter, or any other lawful order. Further, the court may advise the jury of any failure or refusal to disclose and of any untimely disclosure.

Government Code
26500. The district attorney is the public prosecutor, except as otherwise provided by law.
The public prosecutor shall attend the courts, and within his or her discretion shall initiate and conduct on behalf of the people all prosecutions for public offenses.

The next step in our tutorial is Pre-trial Motions.

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