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State Supreme Court Affirms Trial Court Decision Allowing Forensic Scientist to testify in DUI Breath Test Trial

Monday, October 16, 2017 8:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

In State v. Salgado-Mendoza the State Supreme court affirmed the trial court decision to allow the forensic scientist to testify at the breath test trial even though the name of the scientist was not disclosed until the day of trial.  The prosecutor explained she provided all the information she had, when she had it, but still could not know who would be available from the lab until the day of testimony.   Each court that reviewed the case concluded the failure to provide the name prior to the day of trial was misconduct.  However, while the trial court concluded that five months of preparation on an alcohol case, where the expected testimony was not unique and no prejudice was shown--refusing to suppress the testimony of the forensic scientist disclosed on the day-of-trial.   Both the Superior Court and the Appeals Court disagreed, concluding the defense was prejudiced.   The State Supreme Court disagreed, concluding the defense had not shown prejudice by demanding a continuance, and in light of the findings by the trial court.   Prosecutors are expected to diligently pursue the names of expert witnesses, and maintain documentation showing their efforts if the issue arises at trail.   Ultimately, the trial court has great discretion when and under what circumstances it will sanction late disclosure. 


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