Thursday, October 11, 2007

What Happens Next

Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes

Now that the formal arraignment is over, and with Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes both pleading not guilty to the brutal murder of Bryan Kocis, the next legal step is the discovery process ... which basically serves as a period of trial preparation for both sides.

With pleas in place, Harlow and Joe's attorneys will now likely file a notice of intent to participate in discovery with the prosecution. That means that the district attorney's office is required to turn over any and all material that is potentially exculpatory.

The prosecutor has an affirmative duty to continue to provide Harlow and Joe with the names and addresses of all relevant witnesses, along with anything about those witnesses that might impeach their credibility-- like past criminal records, for example.

District Attorney

Further, the DA has to turn over that info even on witnesses that he doesn't actually intend to call at trial. The specific claims of anyone who gave exculpatory evidence during the course of the State's investigation have to be brought forward and handed over to the Defense. Additionally, the prosecutor must provide any written or recorded statements that Harlow and Joe provided. In short, if it's at all useful to the Defense, the DA has to cough it up.

As part of the discovery, Harlow and Joe's attorneys are allowed to question the prosecution’s witnesses through the deposition process... a formal inquiry of the witness, who tells his or her story under oath and has it recorded by a court reporter.

From now until the actual trial, the lawyers will also fight over motions that would affect how the case gets presented. Those motions include requests for a bill of particulars, motions for continuance, severance or joinder, evidentiary or testimonial suppression, etc., and begin within thirty days after the formal arraignment.

- Both PC and KM contributed to this story.