Darden Hearing Law and Legal Definition
Darden hearing is an exparte proceeding to determine if disclosure of an informer’s identity is pertinent for establishing probable cause when there is otherwise insufficient evidence to establish probable cause apart from the arresting officer’s testimony about an informer’s communications. The defense attorney can be excluded from hearing. However Opportunity should be afforded defense attorney to submit in writing any questions which he or she may desire the Judge to put to the informer. The Judge should take testimony, with recognition of the special need for protection of the interests of the absent defendant, and make a summary report as to the existence of the informer and with respect to the communications made by the informer to the police to which the police testify. That report should be made available to the defendant and to the People, and the transcript of testimony should be sealed to be available to the appellate courts if the occasion arises. At all stages of the procedure, every reasonable precaution should be taken to assure that the anonymity of the informer is protected to the maximum degree possible. This principle evolved in the case People v. Darden, 34 N.Y.2d 177, 181 (N.Y. 1974).