An interesting development in New Jersey has settled the issue of production of notes taken by law enforcement officers during the course of an investigation. That state's attorney general has directed that contemporaneous notes written by police now must be transmitted to the prosecutor. This is a step forward for the rights of criminal defendants in NJ.
'The term "contemporaneous notes" means any notation, whether handwritten, typed, entered into an electronic note-taking device or audio recorded, that describes or memorializes the note taker’s personal perception of what transpired in the course of a witness interview or that memorializes the officer’s personal observations at the scene of the crime.'
Previously, when a police report was introduced in court and the defense attorney would ask for the officer's notes, the standard response would be "My notes were incorporated wholesale into the report now before the court. Pursuant to departmental policy, those notes were destroyed."
Not only must those notes now be turned over but they must be clearly labeled and identified as part of the police case upon which the proseuction will rely. The term "notes" does not include confidential information or attorney work product. If this material is contained within the material provided to the prosecutor, it should be identified as such by the transmitting agency.
The directive came about after the New Jersey Supreme Court handed down a decision dealing with the production of contemporaneous notes. This decision says in part, that when notes aren't made available to the defense either because they were lost or destroyed, the jury may make an adverse inference regarding the state's case.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Believe it or not, that crime scene tape is totally edible!
A company called "Criminal Chcocolates" was a vendor at the NDIA 2011 national conference in Huntington Beach, CA l.ast April. The proprietor is a crime scene investigator with one of the police departments local to Southern California and offers a number of unique treats; all designed around the CSI theme. You can find them on the web at http://www.criminalchocolates.net/
You just never know what you're going to see at an NDIA conference!
This year was a great year for vendor participation. A guy named John Prusa, who owns Prusa Marketing was extremely helpful in providing logistigal support when we ran out of some supplies. He reminded me of Del Griffin from "Planes, Trains and Automobiles".
Lexis-Nexis has always been a great NDIA supporter. They routinely sponsor (i.e. spend big $$$$ on) the NDIA President's Reception; a highlight of the national conferences. On a professional level, the information in their database has made the difference between success and failure in many of my investigations. www.lexisnexis.com
It was also great to have reps from Thompson-Reuters, www.thomsonreuters.com E-Quill, and the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce in attendance.
Our vendors are the best!
NDIA Regional Conference
This year the 2011 NDIA Regional Conference will be held September 15-16, 2011 at: The Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel1550 Court PlaceDenver, Colorado 80202
Room Rate: $139 single/double occupancy per diem Room Reservations Telephone: 303-893-3333 or 1-888-627-8405(Refer to NDIA Group Meeting when making reservations)Deadline for Hotel Reservations: August 23, 2011! http://www.sheratondenverdowntown.com