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In Baltimore County judge chastises prosecutors for evidence missteps in David Linthicum case – Baltimore Sun (Feb. 28, 2024), Cassidy Jensen reported on an alleged discovery failure in a criminal case.

The defendant is charged with shooting two police officers.  The Circuit Court issued an order “to show why [prosecutors] had wrongly insisted for months that a specific police report did not exist.”  Ms. Jensen’s article states that the Court admonished prosecutors “for maintaining evidence requested by Linthicum’s attorneys did not exist or was impossible to produce, then later handing it over.”

The evidence was a use of force report that had been requested by defense counsel.  The Baltimore Sun article reports:

“Given the State’s adamant and repeated assertions over a period of several months that there was no ‘use of force report’ followed by the production of a document specifically titled ‘Baltimore County Police Department Use of Force Report’ more than four months after it was prepared, the Court has concerns regarding the discovery process in this case,” [Circuit Judge] Robinson wrote.

Defense counsel requested a “Critical Incident Review.”  Apparently, the report was labelled as a “Major Incident Critique” and the Judge reportedly called that an “issue of semantics.”

The news article adds: “Indeed, this not the first time in this case that the State’s adamant and repeated assertions regarding the existence of information turned out to be incorrect.”  Ms. Jensen also reported the Court’s concern that prosecutors asserted that there was no “audit trail” for body-camera footage; however, an employee of the prosecutor’s office testified that the online portal could produce one.  Id.

A ruling on sanctions was reserved.  Id.  Disclosure was ordered.  “’It is not apparent what led to the belated production of a ‘Baltimore County Police Department Use of Force Report’ after the State claimed multiple times that it did not exist, but [defendant] is entitled to additional information to determine what effect, if any, the incorrect assertions and belated production have on his defense,’ [Judge] Robinson wrote.”  Id.

In the context of civil litigation, see Don’t “Game” Answering to Interrogatories – Problem Can Be Avoided Using Court Forms.