Open File Policy in Williamson County DA’s Office?

To quote an article written about and quoting current District Attorney John Bradley,

In short, you can be sure that in Williamson County, before any contested trial begins today, the defense lawyer will have already received access to all of the information collected in the case.

To me, this sounds like the policy is to allow for all felony files to be open to defense attorneys like myself.  I have been given access to some of my clients cases but by no means all of them… as suggested by this statement above. And while I am appreciative of the access I have had in the few opened cases, "all" does not seem to mean "all" as used by Mr. Bradley.

More information on this is available in an article in the Round Rock Leader, Modern discovery: An open file in Williamson County.

I do not want this post to be taken as a challenge to Mr. Bradley but rather as an inquiry into how we defense attorneys get access to our client’s files as he suggests he allows in the above article.

I understand that the County Attorney’s office, led by Jana Duty, allows for us to fax or email a discovery request form to their office and someone sends an electronic copy of police reports, affidavits, etc back to us in a timely fashion.  This seems simple enough and incurs a minimal expense for the county, as there is not even a cost for paper or ink.  

One way for the DA’s office to use a similar system is to require the lowest ranking prosecutor in each court to be responsible for responding to the discovery requests, or, if it is truly a concern of spending and expense for the County, then when the files are opened, we could be allowed to scan or otherwise copy the documents into our laptops when we visit their office.

I appreciate the progress that Mr. Bradley states has been made, but to date, only a very few of my clients files have been opened to me…

After all, if the State is confident that a person is guilty, why hide anything… open the file, share the information, and make it so available to the defense attorney that there is no doubt as to what was available.  If the evidence is there, the case will be resolved, and if there are legitimate questions or doubts about a case then perhaps the effort to get a conviction by the DA’s office should be set aside and the case resolved in a fair way that seeks justice rather than notches in the proverbial "conviction belt’….