AN ACT TO PROVIDE PROTECTION FOR WITNESSES AND VICTIMS BY ENSURING CERTAIN DISCOVERY MATERIALS REMAIN IN THE CONTROL OF DEFENSE COUNSEL AND ARE NOT DISSEMINATED TO THE DEFENDANT, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE NORTH CAROLINA COURTS COMMISSION.
Amends GS 15A-903, concerning disclosure of evidence by the State to defense counsel, to allow the State to give written notice of discovery (1) designating certain items of discovery that are not to be used by the defendant or the defendant's attorney for any other purpose than in direct relationship to the case and (2) prohibiting further disclosure of these items. Requires the State to include in the notice the grounds for its view of why limited disclosure of the designated discovery is necessary for the protection of witnesses, victims, or officers. Mandates that all designated items of discovery are to remain in the custody and control of defense counsel upon receipt of this notice. Clarifies that defense counsel can allow the defendant to view those items designated in the notice and can discuss those items with the defendant, but defense counsel cannot allow the defendant to possess or control any designated discovery items or any copies thereof. Allows defense counsel to file a motion with superior court for relief from the State's notice as the interests of justice require. Provides that in a case where the defendant is pro se, the State can move for a protective order restricting disclosure by the defendant of specified items of discovery. Similarly, requires the State to provide in its motion the grounds for its view that limited disclosure of the designated discovery items is necessary for the protection of witnesses, victims, or officers. Makes conforming changes. Effective December 1, 2017, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.
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