As a practising Houston Criminal Lawyer I have always found it to be annoying that the Harris County, Texas District Attorney's Office (HCDAO) makes me take notes of my client's offense reports. Many other jurisdictions in Texas give the lawyer representing the accused a copy of the report. Luckily, the policy changed recently in Harris County. Nevertheless, that does does not mean that this allows me to release the report to my client. Many clients want the offense report for their own records. In fact, DWI clients
frequently obtain what they think to be the complete report from the polilce agency that arrested them for drunk driving, but these reports are not complete. The reports that are given to the public exclude essential details of the offense/crime. Once I go over the report that I obtain from the HCDAO my client inevitably wants their copy. Regretfully, I have to tell my client that despite the fact that my file is essentially their file I can not give them the offense report because in order to get the report I have to enter into the following agreement.
STATE OF TEXAS § IN THE COUNTY CRIMINAL
§ COURT OF LAW NO. ____
JOE SMITH § HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS
TO THE HONORABLE JUDGE OF SAID COURT:
The State of Texas files this Confidentiality Agreement in the above styled case wherein counsel of record for the defendant agrees as follows:
I, Herman Martinez, hereby agree, individually and on behalf of my client, to the following with respect to the State's disclosure of information, documents, or items in the above- reference cause:
- That I and any experts or qualified staff or consultants acting on my behalf or my client's behalf under my direction/ supervision, agree to use any documents and or items from the State's file solely for the purpose of defending against the charges in the above-captioned case and for no other purpose.
- Any items provided to me, including copies of police reports, will not be disseminated to the media, to the defendant, to the defendant's family or friends, or to any other person, expect defense experts, qualified legal staff, or legal consultants acting on my behalf or my client's behalf and under my direction/ supervision.
- The access I am provided to the State's file and/ or items therein does not constitute a voluntary disclosure or waiver by the State under the Texas Public Information Act.
- A Defense attorney who acts in violation of this discovery policy may be denied copies of police offense reports and/ or access to the State's files.
Counsel for Defendant
Assistant District Attorney,
Harris County, Texas