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NCJ Number: 32997 Find in a Library
Title: PROSECUTOR DISCLOSURE AND JUDICIAL REFORM - THE OMNIBUS HEARING IN TWO COURTS
Author(s): R T NIMMER
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 124
Sponsoring Agency: American Bar Foundation
Chicago, IL 60611
Sale Source: American Bar Foundation
750 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS BOOK EXAMINES THE EFFECT OF THE OMNIBUS HEARING REFORM IN ONE FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT AND INTEGRATES THIS INFORMATION WITH THE RESULTS OF A PRIOR STUDY OF ANOTHER SUCH COURT.
Abstract: THE OMNIBUS HEARING IS A MULTIPURPOSE REFORM MEASURE FIRST OUTLINED IN THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION'S MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THE AUTHOR FINDS THAT IN THE FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS THE RESULTS ACHIEVED WERE BOTH CONSISTENT WITH AND CONTRADICTORY TO THE OBJECTIVES OF THE REFORM. THE OMNIBUS HEARING ESTABLISHED BROAD DISCLOSURE OF PROSECUTION EVIDENCE AND REDUCED RELIANCE ON FORMAL WRITTEN MOTIONS AND BRIEFS. THESE RESULTS WERE OBTAINED NOT ONLY BECAUSE OF THE INHERENT STRUCTURE OF THE REFORM, BUT ALSO BECAUSE OF THE AGGRESSIVE 'ADVOCACY' OF THE REFORM BY THE LOCAL TRIAL JUDGE. A SIMILAR OBSERVATION WAS MADE IN THE PRIOR STUDY, AND THE AUTHOR CONCLUDES THAT JUDGES' COMMITMENT TO THE REFORM IS AN IMPORTANT DETERMINANT OF THE IMPACT OF THE OMNIBUS HEARING. HE ALSO PRESENTS DATA THAT SUGGEST THAT THE OMNIBUS HEARING IMPROVED THE QUALITY OF REPRESENTATION GIVEN DEFENDANTS IN CASES HANDLED BY INEXPERIENCED DEFENSE ATTORNEYS. EXPERIENCED DEFENSE ATTORNEYS WERE ABLE TO USE THE OMNIBUS HEARING TO REDUCE DELAY IN DISPOSITIONS. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE OMNIBUS HEARING REFORM REQUIRED MORE COURT TIME TO PROCESS CASES AND, IN FACT, DELAYED THE DISPOSITION OF CASES HANDLED BY INEXPERIENCED DEFENSE ATTORNEYS. THE AUTHOR ATTRIBUTES THE FIRST OF THESE OUTCOMES TO THE FACT THAT THE IN-COURT, ROUTINE MONITORING OF DISCLOSURE REQUIRED AN ADDITIONAL HEARING WITHOUT ELIMINATING THE NEED FOR OTHER HEARINGS. THE AUTHOR CONCLUDES THAT THE OMNIBUS REFORM SUBSTANTIALLY ACHIEVED ITS GOALS IN THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT)
Index Term(s): Court delays; Effectiveness; Federal courts; Omnibus hearings; Pretrial discovery; Pretrial procedures; Reform; Texas
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=32997

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