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Video Transcribed: Step five in an Oklahoma misdemeanor case, the Allen hearing or discovery hearing. I’m Tulsa attorney James Wirth and we’re about to talk about discovery in a misdemeanor case in Oklahoma.
All right, so after you’ve done your first main court date conference, meeting with the prosecutor, at that point you’ve probably received initial discovery, initial police reports, and you reviewed that to see the information in there and start working on defenses and that usually brings up stuff you’re missing. Stuff that the police did not provide to you.
Maybe there’s references to other police reports that you’ve not received. Maybe there’s references to other officers where you haven’t received their reports. Maybe there’s references to dash cam. Maybe there’s not references a dash cam, but you know dash cam exists. Maybe there’s images that they haven’t provided. Maybe they’ve got an expert and you don’t have the expert’s report yet.
Generally at that stage there’s a lot of stuff that’s missing. So in addition to our general motion for discovery, we’ll file a request for specific items. Sometimes there’s subpoenas that need to be set out.
Regardless, once it gets to the Allen hearing, that’s about making sure that discovery is complete, that the defense has provided everything that’s required by the defense to be provided by the state and more importantly from our point of view.
The state has provided us everything that we’re entitled to in the form of all the police reports, background checks on all of the potential witnesses, any exculpatory evidence, dash cam video, could be a surveillance video that they’ve obtained, could be audio recordings, confessions, witness statements.
There’s any number of things. They could have experts with reports. They could have forensic interviews with children. Wherever the case is, before it goes beyond the Allen hearing date we want to make sure that we have everything and that’s what happens at the Allen date.
A lot of times we don’t get what we’re supposed to though and then it becomes a battle where you’re arguing with the prosecutor over it and trying to convince the judge to dismiss the case or to provide some sort of sanction because there’s materials out there that should have been provided and have not been provided and we’ve gotten cases dismissed on those grounds at the Allen hearing.
But usually it’s a tough battle because judges do not like to dismiss cases for reasons like that, but if the state loses evidence or for some reason they can’t provide the evidence, we don’t want the case to move any closer to trial without us having that so we can properly get a defense together.
And that’s what happens at the Allen hearing. Sometimes you have one, but if discovery is not complete, it could be continued to another date to give the state additional time. Could be continued to a third date. We’ve seen him go as many as seven times before we can convince the judge to dismiss the case because the state’s not providing what they need to provide.
But that’s the general snapshot of what an Allen hearing is. If there’s a discovery issue going on in your case, you have more questions about discovery hearings, discovery rules in a criminal case, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney about your specific circumstances. If you want to talk to one of the attorneys at my office, the Wirth law Office, go to makelaweasy.com.