Discovery is an intricate process governed by each jurisdiction’s rules of criminal procedure. It is important to remember that the criminal defendant has no constitutional right to discover information from the victim.
In addition to discovery, and often stemming from discovery, there is usually considerable pretrial motion practice. “Motion” is the name for the papers filed with the court asking it to do something in the case. Motions by the defense may include motions to dismiss the indictment, to suppress evidence, or to introduce specific evidence at trial such as “rape shield” evidence. Motions by the state may include a request for reciprocal disclosure or a request for defendant to disclose alibi or psychiatric evidence. A crime victim’s attorney may also bring motions asserting the victim’s rights. These may include motions to quash a subpoena, to protect a victim’s identifying information, or to preclude the press from certain hearings.