NEW YORK — In New York state, prosecutors are only required to turn over all evidence against a person accused of a crime at the time of trial for that person.
It’s one of the country’s most restrictive laws for producing what’s called Discovery material.
The situation can result in innocent people being convicted because the person doesn’t have access to evidence that could exonerate them.
A person who knows that all too well is 60-year-old Dewey Bozella.
He spent more than three decades fighting to prove his innocence for a homicide he didn’t commit.
He finally succeeded after a trial, followed by a retrial years later and three parole rejections after that.
The former trainee of Boxing Hall of Famer Floyd Patterson emerged from his 32-year odyssey for justice to become a professional boxer himself, at age 52.
Now, Bozella is leading a new fight: to pass a New York law requiring that all evidence against a criminal defendant — called “discovery” — be turned over to the defendant’s legal team shortly after their arrest.
Exactly how short of a time is still up for debate. However, since the state district attorneys’ association, or DAASNY, is negotiating conditions for the first time ever, it could mean that real discovery reform could happen in this year’s legislative session.
The session runs through June.