STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. BRANDON M. WASHINGTON
The Appellate Division ruled that the State Police Lab's draft DNA report was not "within the possession, custody or control of the prosecutor" until the lab sent it to the county prosecutor, and in any event was not discoverable until the report was reviewed and approved by the lab. R. 3:13-3(b)(1)(C). Regardless of the speedy trial provisions, the court abused its discretion by excluding the DNA evidence rather than granting a continuance of trial under Rule 3:13-3(b)(1)(I) and -3(f), given the evidence's importance and the absence of surprise, prejudice, or a design to mislead.
Under the speedy trial rule and statute, a case may be "complex" if it has "complicated evidence," but time is excludable only if the complexity makes it unreasonable to expect adequate preparation for trial in the speedy trial period. R. 3:5-4(i)(7); N.J.S.A. 2A:162-22(b)(1)(g). The provision addressing failures to produce discovery is a limit on excludable time. N.J.S.A. 2A:162-22(b)(2). The court properly excluded time sua sponte under N.J.S.A. 2A:162-22(b)(1)(c), and retained jurisdiction to do so after the State sought and obtained leave to appeal. That provision excludes the time while an emergent relief request, or interlocutory appeal, is pending in this court. Time while the trial is stayed is excludable under N.J.S.A. 2A:162-22(b)(1)(l).