On January 1, 2020, Michigan Court Rule 3.922 “Pretrial Procedures in Delinquency and Child Protection Proceedings” received a warmly welcomed overhaul.
This court rule covers discovery procedures and requirements in all Delinquency and Child Protection Proceedings, as indicated in the rule’s name. Although this article is not going to be a deep dive into discovery for each of these proceedings, I will cover the main changes and how they will help practitioners and courts.
Previously, discovery had to be REQUESTED. Now, the updated rule requires MANDATORY discovery be provided, even without a request. Now, most practitioners will send a discovery request along with their appearance; however, those requests are not always all encompassing or completely accurate. Different discovery demands may yield different discovery disclosures. Some courts, prosecutors, and attorneys have set practices that may work well in one jurisdiction, but not in others. This mandatory discovery is an attempt to make discovery easier and standard across all jurisdictions. This should help facilitate seeking the truth, no matter which type of proceeding it is applied to.
Furthermore, the old rule only provided that the request be made 21 days before the trial. This did not leave much time to receive the request, provide the evidence, and prepare for trial. The updated rule now requires that all discovery be provided to the parties NO LESS THAN 21 days before trial. Again, the updated rule is attempting to help practitioners be as prepared as possible. Having a pre-set deadline built into the court rules helps judges and attorneys streamline the process and avoid unnecessary delays.
MCR 3.922(A) provides a fairly exhaustive list of discoverable evidence, and provides some much needed specificity. Included in the list of discoverable items are medical and psychological reports. Prior to the update, these reports were sometimes subject to debate on discoverability. MCR 3.922(A)(f). The rule also added language specific to delinquency cases in subsection B. MCR 3.922(B). Lastly, the rule still allows any party to submit a discovery motion for anything not specifically covered that may be relevant to a specific case.
I have not listed all of the items discoverable in the updated rule, but attempted to focus on the major changes. These changes should streamline the pretrial Child Protection Proceedings and Delinquency proceedings. All judges, prosecutors, and attorneys should be able to work together in a simplified, cohesive manner.
The updated MCR 3.922 should allow all practitioners to focus on advocating for their clients and achieving justice rather than getting bogged down in discovery debates.
Below is a link to the current Michigan Court Rules. The rule would be found in Chapter 3 Special Proceedings and Actions.
Kyle Strobridge – Attorney/Co-Owner of Strobridge & Hunter, Attorneys at Law, PLC