For those that practice criminal law, our profession has taken a new turn. Allegations from decades ago are showing up at the courthouse steps as the media is encouraging people to bring claims that would be deemed stale under normal circumstances. With that stated, the lack of physical evidence or eye witness testimony seems to be an issue that has been overlooked in recent prosecutions. One way to fight the subject of a frivolous prosecution is “The Stanaway Motion.”
While most lawyers in the field are not even familiar with this seldom used motion, the presence of the Stanaway case has provided a lot of power to the aggressive criminal defense attorney. People v. Stanaway, 446 Mich. 643 (1994).
The Stanaway case presents the question of whether, and under what circumstances, records of a psychologist, a sexual assault counselor, a social worker, or a juvenile diversion officer regarding a witness should be discoverable by the accused in a criminal trial. This means medical records of one that was a minor at the time of the allegation can potentially come into admissibility with a successful Stanaway motion. This presents an issue that can sway a judge and jury upon reviewing the psychological makeup of the complaining witness.