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Name: People v. Bowles
Case #: D057119
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/11/2011

The trial court has no power to grant sanctions for the prosecution’s failure to provide discovery under Penal Code section 1054.5, subdivision (b) once the verdict has been rendered. The prosecution has a constitutional due process and a statutory duty under section 1054.5 to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense, and the court has broad discretion to fashion a remedy for failure to provide discovery. However, once the jury has rendered its verdict and the trial court has decided remaining allegations, the purposes of the statute are not furthered by possible sanctions and any discovery violation is appropriately addressed by posttrial remedies such as an appeal, motion for new trial, or habeas corpus petition. Here, post verdict, on the day the trial court heard the bifurcated allegations, defense counsel saw discovery the prosecution had not disclosed. Defense counsel filed a motion for dismissal of the relevant charges. After the trial court found the prior convictions true, it heard the defense motion and, under section 1054.5, as sanction for discovery violation, granted a new trial as to the relevant offenses. The appellate court reversed, finding the trial court had no power to effect this sanction because once the trier of fact has rendered a verdict, it is no longer possible to remedy a discovery violation by sanctions outlined in section 1054.5. The matter was remanded, thereby permitting appellant to file a motion for new trial with the appropriate standard — whether the newly discovered evidence would make a different result probable on retrial.