COA panel to hear oral arguments in OWI discovery case

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The Indiana Court of Appeals is set to hear oral arguments next week on the issue of compelling discovery of a police report.

The case of Frank E. Minges, III v. State of Indiana, 
21A-CR-216, coming from Dearborn County, will be heard before a panel consisting of appellate Judges L. Mark Bailey, Melissa May and Margret Robb at 1 p.m. on Oct. 20.

Frank Minges appeals the denial of his motion to compel discovery of a complete and accurate copy of the police report that outlined the circumstances that resulted him being charged with two counts of misdemeanor operating while intoxicated.

Indiana argues the Dearborn Superior Court was required to deny Minges’ motion pursuant to State ex rel. Keaton v. Circuit Court of Rush County, 475 N.E.2d 1146 (Ind. 1985). That case defined all police reports as the attorney work product of prosecutors and protected that privilege from waiver if defense counsel is allowed to view, but not retain, a copy of the report.

While Minges acknowledges Keaton in his interlocutory appeal, he argues it’s out of step with application of the attorney work product privilege in other contexts and with the expectations of a “fair” justice system.

Also, Minges argues the prosecutor in his case waived the work product privilege by failing to assert it in a timely manner.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, in-person attendance at the argument will be limited to the judges, court personnel and a maximum of two attorneys per arguing party. The argument will be livestreamed to the public. 

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