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Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers

Time Between Return of Evidence and Trial Completion

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Time Between Return of Evidence and Trial Completion

The case is not "over" until the judicial process is complete. Before trial, the laboratory frequently receives pretrial motion requests, discovery requests and requests for meetings with prosecutors. It is important that pretrial conferences occur with each analyst and the prosecutor. These activities are vital to the criminal justice process.

Officer being interviewed in courtroom
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Of the limited number of cases that actually proceed to trial, the subpœna process for court appearances can be very disruptive to analysts. Often, judges will require that all witnesses be present at the start of proceedings, even if their testimony is not required until later in the day. This may be problematic for analysts when travel time and disruptions to the laboratory's operations are considered. For analysts with laboratories near the courthouse, even an on-call subpœna restricts the work flow within the laboratory. On-call subpœnas require the analyst to report to court within a short time, preventing the analyst from beginning or continuing any lengthy analytical processes. The prosecutor should notify the court of time demands and attempt to set a specific time for the laboratory analyst's testimony. Law enforcement decision makers are encouraged to take laboratory tours to gain a better understanding of the workflow.

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