Bail Reform: Laboratory Resources

by | Feb 19, 2017 | Blog, Criminal Law, Law Reform and Amendments

Fred Sisto Brick Lawyer“In cases where the defendant is detained before trial, the County Prosecutor or Division of Criminal Justice in cases prosecuted by the Division shall submit evidence for forensic analysis as promptly as possible.

State Police Office of Forensic Science. Absent compelling circumstances justifying a delay, requests for forensic analysis (e.g., analysis of suspected controlled substances, DNA, fingerprints, ballistics, etc.) by the New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Science should be submitted within five business  days of the date of arrest.

Other Laboratories. Absent compelling circumstances justifying a delay, requests for forensic analysis by any other laboratory operating in association with or under the authority of a County Prosecutor’s Office should be submitted within five business days of the date of arrest unless the County Prosecutor  has approved  a different  submission deadline.

To conserve laboratory resources, in all cases, including those involving defendants who are not detained, in the event that the case is resolved prior to the completion of requested forensic testing, the prosecutor shall within 24 hours of the resolution notify the Office of Forensic Science or other laboratory if no further testing is needed.

Recognizing that dangerous offenders may be released if the State fails to comply with a statutory deadline prescribed for indicting or trying  a detained  defendant, see N.J.S.A.  2A:162-22,  in any case where a defendant is detained pending trial, the prosecutor may request any law enforcement agency involved in or supporting the investigation to (1) prepare any report   concerning the investigation or otherwise documenting discoverable information, and/or (2) conduct any physical test or forensic examination and submit a report thereon, on a priority basis and by a date specified  by the prosecutor that will permit the State to meet the statutorily-prescribed deadline for indictment and/or trial.”

Concerns for laboratory resources bring to mind the recent examples of lab technicians cutting corners and not actually testing the substances that they swore were proven to be controlled substances. Given the consequences which have at a minimum included, employment termination and have oftentimes included criminal charges, it is unlikely that technicians will be willing to save time and resources by making false representations in lab reports.