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Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert

Importance of Maintaining Current and Complete Documents

Photo of the lady justice statue. Caption reads, 'Maintaining Current and Complete Documents'
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Almost all rules of discovery, criminal and civil, make it a mandatory, continuing duty on the part of a responding party to update responses on the basis of additional or newly discovered information. All discovery rules, both criminal and civil, typically have sanction provisions by which the court can enforce its orders and require compliance.

As a responding person, the expert should be aware of the current trend for courts to rule more strictly in imposing sanctions for violations of both the letter and spirit of discovery rules. For the expert, this means that results from the testing of additional new evidence, or the retesting or further testing of previous evidence, must always be made available to the retaining attorney so that all pertinent parties in the case can be notified and given updates.

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