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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

Constitutional Duty to Disclose

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National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

The constitutional duty to disclose extends to exculpatory evidence defined as any material information within the prosecutor's possession or control that tends to negate the guilt of the suspect to the offense charged (e.g., a lab report which excludes the suspect as the source of DNA-related evidence or presents an inconclusive result) [California v. Trombetta, 467 U.S. 479 104 S.Ct. 2528; 81 L. Ed. 2d 413 (1984) citing Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83; 83 S.Ct. 1194; 10 L.Ed. 2d 215 (1963)]. The term "control" extends to exculpatory evidence in the possession of the police and including the state crime lab, even if the prosecution is unaware of its existence. Such reports should be disclosed to defense counsel irrespective of whether defense has requested such information or the prosecutor intends to use them at trial or considers the result relevant.

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