Said & Done



TCDLA Associate Director Courtney Stamper passed along some information that, he says, “may sound a little simple but it created some issues for the State in a trial I was in last week.” He said to make sure prosecution has a proper chain of custody for a gun, and that the document trail is in good shape. In a case he recently worked, the gun’s serial number wasn’t in the report, and the document purporting to be the chain of custody was really just an evidence receipt, and was not provided in discovery. The State then didn’t have it at the time they tried to enter the gun. They came back the next day with the evidence “receipt,” and it contained scratch outs, multiple fonts, etc. So when they tried to enter it, Courtney and co-counsel Chad Hughes insisted that the evidence receipt the State was relying on had to be admitted as well. The State objected (“we had already covered the issues with the document in a hearing outside the presence of the jury, so the State knew what was coming if the receipt came into evidence”). Consequently, our heroes were able to make some hay with the document that was produced to them in the middle of trial. According to what jurors noted afterwards, their Not Guilty verdict was in large part related to documentary gaps in the State’s case. Congratulations, guys, on a job well done.

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