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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

Additional Discovery in DNA Cases

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It is not uncommon in DNA cases that justice may require the disclosure of discovery above and beyond what the prosecution is obligated to provide.  Upon a showing of materiality, the prosecution may be ordered by the court to provide:

  • Case-specific material
    Examples of case specific materials include electropherograms, bench notes, and chain of custody documents. 

    Note: Labs usually require a court order before releasing case specific material to the defense.
  • General material
    Examples of general materials include laboratory protocols, validation reports, internal and external audit reports, database allele tables, and the analyst’s proficiency test results.

Unlike case-specific material, general material can often comprise hundreds of pages. Several jurisdictions have developed a document production protocol whereby general lab information has been rendered to CD-ROM and is provided by the laboratory to defense counsel pursuant to a court order. Alternatively, a lab may allow counsel to review the materials by appointment. Because these materials are general to every DNA case, there is no prejudice to either the defense or prosecution.

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