RHODE ISLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE
A Practice Manual, 4th Edition
© John E. MacDonald
More Specific Discovery
State v. Mollicone, 654 A.2d 311 (R.I. 1995). The trial court denied defendant’s motion to compel more specific discovery, expressly, which documents out of a large volume of documents the state planned to introduce at trial. R.I.S.C. upheld the trial court.
Approximately six months prior to trial, the state provided defendant with copies of documents it planned to introduce at trial and invited defendant to examine and copy many boxes of additional materials stored in two different storage rooms.
The court determined that Rule 16(a)(4) imposed an obligation to allow defendant “to inspect” the documents in question and that the state had fulfilled its obligation.
State v. Motyka, 893 A.2d 267 (R.I. 2006). Defendant convicted of first-degree murder and first-degree sexual assault was not entitled to discovery of software package used by private laboratory as it performed DNA testing or the user manual for the fluorescent scanner used in such testing.
Defendant was not entitled to materials because they were possessed by a third party rather than the state. Even if in state possession, the software and manual did not constitute “results or reports. of scientific tests or experiments,” as required by the rule allowing defendant to discover medical and scientific evidence against him. Id. at 282.
R.I.S.C. also held that the failure to obtain the materials did not prevent the defendant from adequately challenging the state’s DNA evidence.
State v. Oster, 922 A.2d 151 (R.I. 2007). Upon defendant’s motion, the trial court issued a pretrial discovery order requiring the state to detail the anticipated trial testimony of its witnesses and specify the defendant’s statements that it intended to introduce at trial. The state also had to summarize and itemize the statements. R.I.S.C. held that the trial judge exceeded the bounds of her authority and vacated the discovery orders.
“Our holding in Verlaque does not require the state to go beyond the requirements of Rule 16. The state is not obliged to refine its responses or catalogue its evidence.” Id. at 167.
“.the state may not be directed to specify the document or tape recording upon which ”the anticipated testimony is based’ nor is it required to designate the portions of any statements or prior testimony the state intends to use at trial. This work is the responsibility of the defense.” Id. at 164.
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