Although a fundamental principal of the criminal justice system and corollary principals of procedural due process the defendant in a criminal case never has the obligation to alert the prosecution to any deficiencies in its case.
This attempt to shift the burden to the defense arises more frequently in New Jersey cases involving driving while intoxicated cases. In these cases the municipal judge will often ask defense counsel prior to trial as to whether the defense is satisfied that the State has provided the necessary Alcotest discovery. This question is improper because defense counsel has no obligation to confirm or deny whether the State has provided discovery and/or evidence to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. In seminal case State v. Collins, 262 N.J. Super. 230 , 237-238 (App. Div. 1993), the appellate division made it clear that the defense attorney has no obligation to help the State prove its case by calling attention to any missing element of the offense before the State rests.
This equally applies to the admission of a laboratory certificate offered by the State. In this case defense counsel has no obligation to present conflicting evidence regarding the report prior the submission of said report at trial by the laboratory analysis. N.J.S.A. 2C:35-19 imposes no such burden on the defendant, and such a shifting would be unconstitutional. State in the Interest of J.H., 244 N.J. Super. 207, 217 (App. Div. 1990)
Attorney Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., has handled hundreds of criminal and quasi-criminal cases in New Jersey for the last 25-years, in Union, Hudson, Essex, Middlesex, Bergen, Somerset, Morris, Ocean and Monmouth counties.
P.O. Box 261
277 North Broad Street
Elizabeth, N.J. 07207
Dated: February 2, 2015
Quote of the day and words of Wisdom.
“Benedictus qui venit in nomine domini”- Latin for “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”
To be complacent in evil is always wrong, to commit and accept evil even for the alleged good is always morally wrong.
C.S. Lewis, “We do not need more Christian Lawyers, we need more lawyers who are Christian.”