Rules of Criminal Procedure

URCrP 015A. Scientific, Lab, and Analytical Reports – When prosecution required to produce foundation and chain of custody witnesses. Repeal. The rule was enacted in 2010 to create a streamlined process to address the confrontation issues established by Melendez-Diaz. The rule has had the opposite effect, creating additional and unnecessary work for both prosecutors and defense attorneys.

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7 thoughts on “Rules of Criminal Procedure
  1. Clay Huntsman

    Confrontation issuea, defendants’ rights, and
    due process should always trump “unnecessary work”. We should leave this safeguard in place and not delete unless a new rule with equvalent safeguards replaces the old one.

  2. Ryan McBride

    I am a prosecuting attorney working primarily in a justice court and deal with DUI cases nearly every day. My experience is that Rule 15A has had the desired effect: I do not have to subpoena chain of custody witnesses for every trial nor do I have to get a stipulation to that effect. In the few cases where chain of custody is at issue, defense attorneys file the appropriate motion under Rule 15A and I produce them. However, in the vast number of cases, under Rule 15A, I am able to forego getting the stipulation and subpoenaing the chain of custody witnesses. Rule 15A certainly lightens the work load on chain of custody witnesses and myself. I support Rule 15A and disagree with repeal.

  3. Edward D. Flint

    Please show me some actual evidence or even anectdotal occasion where 15A has created “additional and unnecessary” work for defense attorneys, or has somehow disadvantaged the criminal defendant. Having 15A in place streamlines the process by eliminating the requirement that the defense bring a Melendez-Diaz type motion, and also makes it clear to the trial court that the State must lay foundation if the defense asks for it. Do not repeal this rule.

  4. Thomas Thompson

    The purpose of Rule 15A was clearly to come to grips some of the problems identified in Justice Kennedy’s dissent in Melendez-Diaz. While the rule as written has serious flaws, repealing it without replacing it will also create problems. It would be better, in my view, to repeal the rule but also to restate it in clearer terms so that litigants (both prosecutors and defense attorneys) in criminal cases will not be left in the dark concerning when live testimony of a laboratory specialist will be required. Otherwise, that issue will have to be determined on a case by case basis and it is likely that our Appellate Courts will spend a good deal of time addressing something that is probably better dealt with by rule.

  5. Greg Law

    Rule 15A was enacted to protect the due process rights of defendants in criminal matters. While I’m skeptical of the argument that “this rule has created additional and unnecessary work for both prosecutors and defense attorneys”, how does this logic justify circumventing a defendant’s rights.
    Rule 15A puts everyone on notice regarding chain of custody and laboratory witnesses needed.
    Repealing this rule will just lead to additional motions and drawn out litigation in efforts to protect a defendant’s due process right to confront witnesses. It will also create a stream of cases being appealed to remedy this short circuit of the criminal justice system.
    Repealing this rule is a bad idea.

  6. Michael Junk

    I am a prosecuting attorney for the City of Ogden and use this rule on a daily basis. I know that this rule has not created “additional or unnecessary” work for prosecution and I don’t believe that it has created “additional or unnecessary” work for the defense. It seems pretty easy, if a defense attorney wants the chain of custody evidence provided, they file a motion under 15A. If not, we get to the meat of the case faster and more efficiently. Talk to the attorney’s that really use this rule on a daily basis and see what they say. Don’t repeal!