In New York State it is legal practice to withhold information pertinent to criminal cases from a defendant and his defense attorney until the very moment of trial. This is not because the information is unavailable; it is because the prosecution does not have to turn over such information earlier. For example, prosecutors are not required by law to hand over police reports, prior testimony, and any other evidence to the defendant until trial begins, and in some cases, not until the first witness takes the stand. A prosecutor does not even have to turn over evidence that might help a defendant or cast doubt on his guilt unless the prosecutor thinks it is important. This practice costs both taxpayers and the judicial system a great deal of time and money.
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