Muni-Mail – Important New Rules for Notice in Drug Cases – State v. Heisler
[05/18/11 – 5:10 pm] – Yesterday, in a case captioned State v. Heisler, the Appellate Division established an important new procedure to be utilized in drug prosecutions in both the municipal and Superior courts. The case involved a dispute in municipal court as to the correct notice procedures under NJSA 2C:35-19. The Court construed the statute to require the following: At least 20-days before trial, the State must put the defense on notice of its intent to utilize documentary evidence from a forensic laboratory to prove the composition of the drugs that are the subject of the prosecution. Formerly, upon receipt of the notice of intent, the defendant had been afforded 10-days to file an objection to the use of the documentary evidence and demand the personal testimony of the person who tested the drugs. Under the new procedure established yesterday by the Appellate Division in Heisler, the 10-day period to file an objection by the defense does not begin to run until the defendant has been served by the prosecutor with BOTH a notice of intent to offer AND the results of the laboratory test. The failure of the State to follow this procedure will result in a bar at trial to the admission of the documentary drug evidence.
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