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Division Two Rules on CrRLJ 4.7 Discovery Rules in DUI

Thursday, June 02, 2016 3:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

In State v. Salgado-Mendoza, No. 46062-9 (filed May 24, 2016), the court of appeals considered the case of a breath test case where the defendant requested disclosure of expert witnesses under CrRLJ 4.7.  As with past practice, the prosecutor subpoenaed a forensic scientist for the DUI trial to discuss the preparation of the simulator solution.  Because availability of toxicology witnesses is rarely known far in advance of trial, the prosecutor disclosed the eight names of the possible witnesses that might appear.  At trial, the defense objected to the expert who appeared.  The defense argued they would need a continuance to prepare.  The defendant however, objected to any continuance citing his speedy trial right.   The Court of appeals held that the prosecution violated its discovery obligations.  However, the obligation was a new one--that arising under CrRLJ 4.7(d), governing material held by others.   Under the COA reasoning, the prosecution should have made efforts to obtain the name of the witness and informed the court when that effort was not successful.   By imposing upon the prosecution the obligation to notify the court, the COA imposed upon the prosecution the need to perfect the record below (which included scant information on what efforts the prosecution took) and held the prosecution responsible for the failure to advise the court so it could take action before speedy trial was implicated.  

The matter was remanded for a new trial.    The full opinion is below.  Appeal is under consideration.

Salgado-Medoza Case
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