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How to get case discovery from the Denver district attorney

Posted by Neil Shouse | Aug 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

Defendants in a Denver criminal case may obtain discovery (the evidence in their case) in person from the Denver District Attorney's Office located at:

Webb Municipal Office Building
201 W. Colfax Ave., 8th floor
Denver, Colorado 80202

Definition of discovery in Colorado

Discovery is the legal term for evidence that prosecutors compile when investigating criminal charges. In criminal cases, evidence may include for example:

  • police reports
  • witness reports
  • surveillance video and photographs
  • written or recorded communications (such as emails, letters, phone calls)
  • a list of any items found through a police search (such as weapons, drugs, stolen items)
  • medical records
  • phone records
  • accounting records
  • GPS records

Some cases have very little discovery. For instance, the discovery for a traffic ticket may include just the police citation and a record from the radar speed gun. But serious felony cases may have several megabytes of information that would fill dozens of banker boxes.

Note that discovery does not comprise "work product," which includes the prosecutors' internal communications about the case and strategies. Sometimes discovery grows as a case progresses and new evidence is gathered; if this happens, the D.A. is obligated to inform the defendant about any new evidence.

Every defendant is entitled to have a copy of the discovery in his/her criminal case. And prosecutors are required to hand over all the discovery, even if some of it suggests that the defendant may be innocent of the charges. Should the case go to trial in Colorado, the discovery could be admitted as evidence in the case.

Requesting discovery in Denver

Defendants who are not represented by an attorney ("pro se" defendants) must order discovery in person, fill out some paperwork, and show a valid and current photo ID (such as a driver's license or passport). The D.A.'s office will then notify the defendant when it is ready. If the defendant is under 18, his or her parent may retrieve the evidence as long as he or she has a valid ID.

If the defendant is represented by a lawyer (the "attorney of record"), the lawyer may request discovery through email at [email protected] and attach a court-filed "entry of appearance or order of court appointment." Alternatively, the lawyer can fax the request to Discovery Staff at 720-913-9035.

After the Discovery Staff notifies the lawyer that the materials are ready for pickup, the lawyer can either retrieve it him- or herself or send a professional courier service or law firm employee with an authorization letter on firm letterhead. Note that defendants who are represented by a lawyer may not pick up the discovery themselves.

The Discovery Room hours are 8 AM to noon from Monday through Friday. As discussed above, the address of the Denver District Attorney's Office is:

Webb Municipal Office Building
201 W. Colfax Ave., 8th floor
Denver, Colorado 80202

The Discovery Staff may take three business days to answer discovery requests. For other questions, call the Denver Discovery Staff at 720-913-9001.

Pro se defendants or attorneys of record may request 911 recordings and photos from the Denver Police Department Civil Liabilities Bureau by calling 720-913-6400.

Learn more about our Denver criminal defense attorneys

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

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