Discovery of documents from the crime laboratory and/or investigative agency varies and can be a simple process or quite extensive.  In most cases the required documents for a comprehensive case review are standard and easy for the laboratory to provide.   The overall objectives  through discovery include validation of the laboratory’s procedures , confirmation of the laboratory accreditation status,  assessment of the laboratory data analysis and conclusions, chain of custody of all evidence obtained for the case, review of any other case specific documents.  

Commonly Items Requested

This list is not comprehensive of all possible items that may be requested for discovery and the specific items requested for discovery depend on the work conducted in that particular case.

  1. A copy the Standard Operating Procedures Manual used by the lab during the period the case was processed. This manual should include sections for Serology, DNA extraction, DNA amplification, and analysis.
  2. A copy of ALL the laboratory worksheets for evidence examination and presumptive testing (including photographs and photomicrographs) for ALL specimens processed in the case.
  3. A copy of ALL the laboratory worksheets for DNA extractions, amplifications, and analyses (including electrophoretic plots) for ALL specimens processed in the case. This should include, but is not limited to, the following:
    1. A complete inventory of ALL specimens extracted for DNA analysis.
    2. Where appropriate, a description of specific areas on large evidence items (ie. Clothing) that were swabbed for DNA analysis.
    3. Electrophoretic plots should be adjusted to allow detection of ALL peaks, major and minor, whether used for analysis or not.
  4. A copy of the entire case file in PDF format.
  5. A complete list of ALL persons that collected, handled, examined, and processed evidence items in this case.
  6. The DNA profile of ALL persons that handled, examined, and processed evidence items for DNA analysis in this case.
  7. A copy of proficiency test results for all persons handling specimens in this case for the past year. 8. A copy of the two most recent audit reports for the Crime lab biology section. If the two most recent audits were internal then also include a copy of the most recent external audit report provided by the accrediting agency.