Here is the discovery I am allowed by the Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court. It's too big to post in toto but here's the part which keeps me from getting police reports:
3A:11(b)(2) - This subparagraph does not authorize the discovery . . . of reports, memoranda or other internal Commonwealth documents made by agents in connection with the investigation or prosecution of the case, except as provided in clause (ii) of subparagraph (b)(1) of this Rule [expert and medical reports].As a practical matter this allows any prosecutor who so desires to deny me access to the report. Now, in a number of jurisdictions the prosecutor just turns over a copy as part of an "open file" policy. In others, the prosecutor will read over the report and tell you what he thinks you need to know. In some there is no communication which is not mandated.
What might be in the police report that's mandated? First, there are the statements made by the client. The prosecutor must turn these over to me under 3A:11(b)(1). As well, there is the requirement under Brady that prosecutors disclose evidence which might tend to show that my client is not guilty. However, even assuming that a prosecutor would see eye to eye with me about what is exculpatory the prosecutor can just tell me the information without giving me the report.
Personally, I think the jurisdictions which turn over the police reports operate better. There are no silly little games about what the officer is going to say or what the officer thought happened that night (or at least there are far fewer). If the Rules or the law were to change such that discovery required police reports to be turned over perhaps we could change criminal procedure somewhat and stop requiring so many policemen to come to court every day. As it is all the officers have to come to court for every offense, if for no other reason than the fact that they fill the spot of the police report. Pretty much every day I walk into the courtroom, grab Officer Smith, go out in the hallway, and get him to tell me the information which I could have gotten through the report.
Now, I understand that in some Virginia jurisdictions there is basically a state of open warfare between prosecutors and defense attorneys. I don't practice in any of them but I hear that in some places it is so hard to get any information from the police report that defense attorneys try to get it by suing prosecutors under the Freedom Of Information Act.