ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A judge has ordered the St. Louis prosecutor to start sharing the names and addresses of witnesses and victims in criminal cases with defendants.
Public Defender Mary Fox says for some years now, the prosecutor has been keeping the information secret and arranging meetings between witnesses and the defense side.
“She would arrange the date and her people would be present,” she says. “They have said that they would leave the room, but that’s not actually accurate. They would always be present for the interviews, and they would talk to the witnesses prior to our ever having a chance to talk to the witnesses.”
Fox says they are asking for the information for no reason other than to prepare clients’ cases.
“We’re not asking for it to intimidate witnesses, to harm witnesses, to bother them,” she says. “They have the right to say they would like to talk to us, or not like to talk to us.
But Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce says the ruling puts witnesses and defendants in jeopardy of being intimidated or killed by accused criminals who can now see the police report.
An appeal is planned, and the issue is still being litigated in other pending cases.
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