Thu. Jul 11th, 2024

The Discovery Process For The Pro se Litigant

Some Good News!

A Pro se effectively conducting discovery will annoy many lawyers. You may well find most cases can be won, dismissed or resolved with thorough discovery. Just visit a local court house on motion days and you will hear lawyers arguing endlessly on discovery issues. Learn how to conduct the various types of discovery and the motions to compel that discovery if your discovery request is not respected. Many lawyers will ignore the first request for discovery from a Pro se litigant. However, once a Pro se litigant files a motion to compel, they usually never have to file a second one.

If a lawyer ignores a second discovery request from a Pro se litigant, a motion to compel AND a motion for sanctions will usually make the lawyer sit up, take notice and start respecting you. Despite the countless stories, many valid, that we hear about courts not being fair or being difficult with Pro se litigants, it is our experience that in the area of properly handled discovery, Pro se’s are pretty much on equal footing with lawyers in the courts.

Anyone can allege anything in initial pleadings. The discovery process is where you start to flush out the real facts. Request for production of documents, written interrogatories, depositions, requests for admissions and stipulations can all be part of discovery.

Formal Discovery is a good resource that will display well on all devices.
More On Discovery is from the free dictionary but, as of 2015, may not display well on all devices.
This link on interrogatories, as of 2015, may not display well on all devices.
We also have our highly accessed page on Deposition Tips! and Secret Canons of Judicial Conduct



Many defendants who are facing criminal charges in California have never been through the court process and are typically overwhelmed and confused about what will happen next.

Anyone who is facing felony charges will often find their freedom is a stake and should know the basics on common terms that will be used throughout their case.

Having a general understanding of criminal court process can help a defendant overcome some the stress frequently associated with facing criminal charges.

A crucial part of this process is known as “discovery.”

In simple terms, “discovery” is the:

  • process where evidence is exchanged;
  • between the prosecutor and criminal defense attorney;
  • prior to court or trial.

The exchange of evidence is a crucial component of a criminal investigation and trial preparation.

It provides relevant information that allow both sides to prepare their case strategy. It helps both the defense and prosecution reach a reasonable decision on how to handle the case.

Even more important for the defendant, discovery is critical for a criminal defense lawyer to make the decision on how to prove their side of the case in court.

California discovery laws are designed to provide a fair criminal justice system that mandate a timely exchange of all information that was gathered by law enforcement and investigators in order to prosecute a criminal case.

To give readers a better understanding of discovery in criminal cases, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers are providing an overview below.


In a criminal prosecution, discovery can include a wide range of items that are often crucial for your defense, such as:

  • all the hard evidence in the case, such as physical evidence;
  • exculpatory evidence that could be favorable to your defense;
  • witness statements and depositions from police.

A “deposition” is way to find out what type of testimony a witness will say at a trail. It’s transcribed by a court reporter while the prosecutor and attorney are present.

Discovery also includes any lab reports that might include fingerprint or DNA analysis, or any other reports connected to evidence that was analyzed.

Discovery also includes:

  • any video or audio evidence that might have been obtained from a law enforcement surveillance operation, such as;
  • a phone tap, or video from an alleged drug buy, and
  • any crime scene pictures.

Discovery also include police reports from the initial call that started the investigation and any follow up reports from a detective, such as witness interviews.

All the discovery material will be specific to the crime you were charged with. In most cases, you are entitled to know head of time about all the evidence that will be used against you to support the charges.


When you appear for your arraignment, the prosecutor is required to provide a copy of the criminal complaint and turn over all discovery on the case to your lawyer, who will then review it and discuss the contents with the defendant.

Typically, this initial discovery packet only includes:

  • the police report, and
  • your criminal record.

Your criminal defense lawyer will often make a request to receive any additional discovery material.

The criminal discovery court process is a crucial step for your defense lawyer to obtain evidence that might help them challenge the charges against you.

Once your arraignment has been completed, then your lawyer will review the discovery packet provided by the prosecution in order to find out if there are any missing items.

In some cases, your defense attorney will send an informal discovery request to the prosecutor on the case asking for specific items.

Common items on these type of discovery request include:

  • the initial 911 call to police,
  • audio witness interviews,
  • supplemental report from police detectives, and
  • any other type of relevant information that the prosecution or police may have in their possession.

It should be noted the exchange of discovery is not an option. The prosecution is legally required to turn over any and all relevant discovery material to the defense lawyer.

In a situation where the prosecutor has relevant evidence they don’t intend to use against you, they are still required to turn it over to the defense side.

Of course, this would also include any existing exonerating evidence that might be favorable to your defense.

In some large-scale fraud cases, discovery material could be so large that it will require experts to examine all the material.

This means the criminal discovery process could take many months or longer in order to give the defense lawyer sufficient time to examine it.


In situations where the prosecutor fails to turn over certain requested items, then your criminal defense lawyer can file a “formal discovery motion” with the court.

The judge who is assigned to your case will listen to verbal arguments from the prosecutor and defense lawyer about the missing discovery that was previously requested.

After arguments, the judge will then make a decision on whether the defense lawyer is entitled to receive the requested discovery.

If they decide in your favor, the judge will order the prosecutor to turn over the specific discovery that was the issue of the hearing.

If the prosecutor still fails to turn over requested discovery, the judge could:

  • impose sanctions on the prosecutor, and
  • might even decide to place limitations on what evidence can be presented at your trial.


It should be noted there are some specific items of evidence that can’t be obtained through the normal criminal discovery process. This means your criminal defense lawyer will have to use process of issuing a criminal subpoena or a subpoena duces tecum.

or instance, there are some cases that might require a review of medical documentation where the prosecution won’t have direct access to this type of evidence.

In such a situation, your defense lawyer will issue a subpoena to the healthcare agency to obtain the documents.

If you were charged with a crime like assault with a deadly weapon where there are alleged injuries to the victim, it might be necessary to:

  • issue a subpoena directly to hospital,
  • to get records of any treatment the victim may have received.

If you are charged with a felony crime, the judge could decide your defense is not entitled to all requested discovery to proceed with the preliminary hearing.

In some cases, your defense can only obtain some specific items if the judge decides to hold you over to answer for the criminal charges you are facing.


The discovery process helps make the criminal justice system transparent is designed to ensure fair criminal court proceedings by allowing each side prepare their case.

Without discovery, it would seriously undermine your right to due process.

Discovery allows your defense to aggressively challenge evidence and increases the chances that exculpatory evidence will be taken into consideration.

In other words, criminal discovery laws in California help ensure a fairer legal system and is absolutely a critical step in your case.

If you have been accused of crime, call our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers to review the case and options. cited

Learn more about Discovery Abuse click below

Fighting Discovery Abuse in Litigation – Forensic & Investigative Accounting






To Learn More…. Read MORE Below and click the links Below 

Abuse & Neglect The Reporters  (Police, D.A & Medical & the Bad Actors)

If You Would Like to Learn More About: The California Mandated Reporting Law Click Here

To Read the Penal Code § 11164-11166 – Child Abuse or Neglect Reporting Act – California Penal Code 11164-11166 Article 2.5. (CANRAClick Here

 Mandated Reporter form Mandated Reporter FORM SS 8572.pdfThe Child Abuse


It Only Takes a Minute to Make a Difference in the Life of a Child learn more below

You can learn more here California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Law  its a PDF files taken from

Learn More About True Threats Here below….

We also have the The Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)1st Amendment

CURRENT TEST = We also have the TheBrandenburg testfor incitement to violence 1st Amendment

We also have the The Incitement to Imminent Lawless Action Test 1st Amendment

We also have the True Threats – Virginia v. Black is most comprehensive Supreme Court definition – 1st Amendment

We also have the Watts v. United StatesTrue Threat Test – 1st Amendment

We also have the Clear and Present Danger Test – 1st Amendment

We also have the Gravity of the Evil Test – 1st Amendment

We also have the Elonis v. United States (2015) – Threats – 1st Amendment

Learn More About What is Obscene…. be careful about education it may enlighten you

We also have the Miller v. California 3 Prong Obscenity Test (Miller Test) – 1st Amendment

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$$ Retaliatory Arrests and Prosecution $$

We also have the Brayshaw v. City of Tallahassee1st Amendment Posting Police Address

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Retaliatory Prosecution Claims
Against Government Officials1st Amendment

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Retaliatory Prosecution Claims
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We also have the First Amendment Encyclopedia very comprehensive 1st Amendment


We also have the Penal Code 118 PC – California Penalty of “Perjury” Law

We also have the Federal Perjury – Definition by Law

We also have the Penal Code 132 PCOffering False Evidence

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We also have the Penal Code 118.1 PCPolice Officer$ Filing False Report$

We also have the Spencer v. PetersPolice Fabrication of Evidence – 14th Amendment

We also have the Penal Code 148.5 PC –  Making a False Police Report in California

We also have the Penal Code 115 PCFiling a False Document in California

Sanctions and Attorney Fee Recovery for Bad Actors

FAM § 3027.1 – Attorney’s Fees and Sanctions For False Child Abuse AllegationsFamily Code 3027.1 – Click Here

FAM § 271 – Awarding Attorney Fees– Family Code 271 Family Court Sanction Click Here

Awarding Discovery Based Sanctions in Family Law Cases – Click Here

FAM § 2030 – Bringing Fairness & Fee RecoveryClick Here

 Know Your Rights Click Here (must read!)

 Under 42 U.S.C. $ection 1983 – Recoverable Damage$

42 U.S. Code § 1983 – Civil Action for Deprivation of Right$

$ection 1983 LawsuitHow to Bring a Civil Rights Claim

18 U.S. Code § 242Deprivation of Right$ Under Color of Law

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$uing for MisconductKnow More of Your Right$

Police Misconduct in CaliforniaHow to Bring a Lawsuit

Malicious Prosecution / Prosecutorial Misconduct – Know What it is!

New Supreme Court Ruling – makes it easier to sue police



We also have the 9.3 Section 1983 Claim Against Defendant as (Individuals) — 14th Amendment this CODE PROTECT$ all US CITIZEN$

We also have the  Amdt5. – Parental and Children’s Rights 5th Amendment this CODE PROTECT$ all US CITIZEN$

We also have the 9.32 Interference with Parent / Child Relationship – 14th Amendment this CODE PROTECT$ all US CITIZEN$

We also have the California Civil Code Section 52.1 Interference with exercise or enjoyment of individual rights

We also have the Parent’s Rights & Children’s Bill of Rights SCOTUS RULINGS FOR YOUR PARENT RIGHTS

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Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000)Grandparents – 14th Amendment

Third “PRESUMED PARENT” Family Code 7612(C) – Requires Established Relationship Required

S.F. Human Servs. Agency v. Christine C. (In re Caden C.)

9.32 Particular Rights – Fourteenth Amendment – Interference with Parent / Child Relationship

Parent’s Rights & Children’s Bill of Rights

Cal State Bar PDF to read about Three Parent Law The State Bar of California family law news issue4 2017 vol. 39, no. 4.pdf


Due Process vs Substantive Due Process learn more HERE

Understanding Due Process  – This clause caused over 200 overturns in just DNA alone  Click Here

Mathews v. EldridgeDue Process – 5th & 14th Amendment Mathews Test3 Part TestAmdt5. Mathews Test

UnfriendingEvidence – 5th Amendment

At the Intersection of Technology and Law

We also have the Introducing TEXT & EMAIL Digital Evidence in California Courts  1st Amendment

Retrieving Evidence / Internal Investigation Case 

Fighting Discovery Abuse in LitigationForensic & Investigative AccountingClick Here

Conviction Integrity Unit (“CIU”) of the Orange County District Attorney OCDAClick Here

Orange County Data, BodyCam, Police Report, Incident Reports, and all other available known requests for data below: 


Learn About Policy 814: Discovery Requests OCDA Office – Click Here

Request for Proof In-Custody Form Click Here

Request for Clearance Letter Form Click Here

Application to Obtain Copy of State Summary of Criminal HistoryForm Click Here

Request Authorization FormRelease of Case InformationClick Here

CPRA Public Records Act Data Request – Click Here

Here is the Public Records Service Act Portal for all of CALIFORNIA Click Here

Appealing/Contesting Case/Order/Judgment/Charge/ Suppressing Evidence

First Things First: What Can Be Appealed and What it Takes to Get StartedClick Here

Options to Appealing– Fighting A Judgment Without Filing An Appeal Settlement Or Mediation 

Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1008 Motion to Reconsider

Penal Code 1385Dismissal of the Action for Want of Prosecution or Otherwise

Penal Code 1538.5Motion To Suppress Evidence in a California Criminal Case

CACI No. 1501 – Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings

Penal Code “995 Motions” in California –  Motion to Dismiss

WIC § 700.1If Court Grants Motion to Suppress as Evidence

Suppression Of Exculpatory Evidence / Presentation Of False Or Misleading Evidence – Click Here

Notice of Appeal Felony (Defendant) (CR-120)  1237, 1237.5, 1538.5(m) – Click Here

 Epic Criminal / Civil Right$ SCOTUS Help Click Here

At issue in Rosenfeld v. New Jersey (1972) was whether a conviction under state law prohibiting profane language in a public place violated a man's First Amendment's protection of free speech. The Supreme Court vacated the man's conviction and remanded the case for reconsideration in light of its recent rulings about fighting words. The man had used profane language at a public school board meeting. (Illustration via Pixabay, public domain) Epic Parents SCOTUS Ruling Parental Right$ Help Click Here

Judge’s & Prosecutor’s Jurisdiction – SCOTUS RULINGS on Judicial & Prosecutorial Conduct



Family Treatment Court Best Practice Standards

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The PROPOSED Parental Rights Amendment
to the US CONSTITUTION Click Here to visit their site

The proposed Parental Rights Amendment will specifically add parental rights in the text of the U.S. Constitution, protecting these rights for both current and future generations.

The Parental Rights Amendment is currently in the U.S. Senate, and is being introduced in the U.S. House.