Turning the Tables on Discovery Costs
Video Transcribed: Why don’t defense attorneys in Oklahoma charge prosecutors for their discovery? I’m Tulsa lawyer James Wirth. That’s the question that we have.
So in a criminal case in the state of Oklahoma, we’ve got the Discovery Code, it’s Title 22, Section 2002. And it lists certain items that can be requested by the defense that the state has to provide, and certain items that can be requested by the state that the defense has to provide. And it notes that there are costs associated with that. So typically in any criminal case that we have, we’ll put in a motion for discovery, and then the state will get the documents together as part of discovery, law enforcement reports, whatever else they have that’s relevant that we request. And they’ll say, “Hey, it’s available for pickup.” And then they’ll have a dollar amount, either copy cost or perhaps the cost of putting it on a CD, or lately they’ve just been charging it and then they’ve been emailing them, which is more convenient, but we still have to pay for them.
And that’s based on statutory authority. This is what it says. “Reasonable cost of copying, duplicating, videotaping, developing, or any other cost associated with this Code for items requested shall be paid by the party so requesting.” So if the defense makes a request, the state gets it together and then requests a payment from us in order to provide the information. However, that’s pretty standard. The DA’s offices are doing that regularly. Defense attorneys are paying for that regularly.
But what about the reverse? I don’t think I ever recall seeing a defense attorney actually charge the state when they request documents, which they’re the ones prosecuting, they’re the ones that have the burden of proof. So they’re the ones that have the most evidence. But ultimately the state can request certain things from the defendant, and the defendant provides them. Normally we just drop them off for free. So why are we not charging? I mean, the statute is even, where the obligations for the state are the same as the obligations for the defense. And it says the party requesting shall pay. So perhaps we defense attorneys when we do turn over our discovery when it’s requested should charge just like the state does. So that’s kind of, I guess, that’s the question I’m talking about, but that’s also the question I have for you.
Comment below. Do you know of defense attorneys actually charging for the discovery, and should defense attorneys be charging the state of Oklahoma for discovery just like they charge us for discovery, pursuant to the Discovery Code in Oklahoma? That’s the question I have. Comment below.
If you’re dealing with a legal circumstance though that you’ve got a question about, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney about that privately and confidentially. To get that scheduled with a Tulsa criminal defense attorney at my office, you can go online to makelaweasy.com.