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Principles of Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court

Basic Discovery: The Duty to Disclose

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blurry text in the background with text "would tend to exculpate him or reduce the penalty" circled in red
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Assuming that evidence has been retained (or retained and tested), the duty to disclose determines what must be released to the other party and when that release must occur. In cases in which evidence (the physical evidence and/or the test result) is exculpatory, disclosure of its existence is mandatory under the U.S. Constitution. 6 Evidence is exculpatory if it "would tend to exculpate him or reduce the penalty..." 7

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