Judge says St. Louis Circuit Attorney must provide witness information to public defender

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – In a controversial ruling from a city judge, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce must disclose personal information about crime victims and witnesses to defense attorneys.

This issue has been an ongoing battle between Joyce and Mary Fox, the city’s head public defender; it appears that even with this ruling, the fight may not be over.

Joyce has had a long-standing policy of redacting dates of birth, Social Security numbers, telephone numbers, and addresses from police reports before providing the reports to defense attorneys.

But Fox sued Joyce, claiming that her actions violated a 1979 Missouri Supreme Court rule detailing what information about witnesses must be disclosed before trials. That state Supreme Court ruling requires that the names and last known addresses of witnesses be provided to defense attorneys.

The ruling means Joyce will have to provide those names and addresses. However, Joyce is objecting. Her office released a statement saying Joyce has a constitutional and ethical responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of the victims and witnesses who bravely participate in the criminal justice system.

That statement goes on to say, “We currently comply with all our legal obligations under the Missouri Constitution and the Missouri Supreme Court rules. we respectfully disagree with this judge’s opinion and we will appeal this decision because it`s the right thing to do.”