Proposal to Change Handling of Evidence Advances

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Prosecutors would have to turn over more evidence to defense lawyers under a proposal advancing through the state Capitol.

The bill approved by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday would require "open file discovery" of material that might help defend a person accused of a crime.

Viewers of TV shows like Law & Order have heard of "Brady material," which refers to the Supreme Court case that set general guidelines for handling exculpatory evidence.

Houston Democratic Sen. Rodney Ellis says his bill would help ensure fair trials. It would require prosecutors to turn over police reports, witness lists, recorded statements. It would make exceptions for safety issues.

The bill is named for Michael Morton, who served 25 years in prison on false charges of killing his wife.

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