The murder trial of Wilson Santiago could cause Ohio to reconsider its controversial rule forbidding defendants from seeing all of the state’s evidence against them. Santiago is accused in the 2006 shooting death of Cleveland Detective Jonathan “A.J.” Schroeder. Defense lawyers want the police reports in order for sanity/trial competency expert witnesses to evaluate Santiago’s sanity and psychological competence to stand trial.
The prosecution argues that case law and the state’s court-procedure rules explicitly state that a defendant isn’t entitled to police reports but Common Pleas Judge Janet Burnside declared “Fundamental fairness compels the disclosure. The obvious means to protect a capital defendant in his trial is to provide copies of the police reports and witness statements to defense counsel so that they can be as prepared as their possible expert witnesses and can discern for themselves what exculpatory information is contained in those police reports,” she asserted, according to Cleveland.com.