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PEOPLE STATE NEW YORK v. JOHN MCDONALD AND COLLEEN MCDONALD (03/11/69)
COUNTY COURT OF NEW YORK, ONEIDA COUNTY
1969.NY.40794 <http://www.versuslaw.com>; 298 N.Y.S.2d 625; 59 Misc. 2d 311
March 11, 1969
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, PLAINTIFF,v.JOHN MCDONALD AND COLLEEN MCDONALD, DEFENDANTS
Arthur A. Darrigrand, District Attorney (Edward A. Wolff, Jr., of counsel), for plaintiff.
Eugene M. Hanson for Colleen McDonald, defendant.
John J. Walsh, J.
This is a motion for discovery and inspection under an indictment charging the defendant, together with another, with the possession and sale of marihuana. The defendant seeks to compel "the People to disclose, and, in the case of a tangible item to produce for inspection and copying, all evidence in the possession and control of the People, or others * * * without regard to whether the evidence to be disclosed and produced is deemed admissible at the trial herein", including but not limited to:
1. Statements of persons interviewed by the prosecution whom it does not intend to call at the trial.
2. Memoranda of statements made by any person to the prosecution.
3. Recordings or transcriptions of such oral statements.
4. Statements of persons or memoranda of any oral statements of any person whether or not made to an agent of the People. . The transcript of the Grand Jury testimony of all persons, whether they will or will not be called to testify at the trial.
6. Memoranda or documents used by the People during their investigation.
7. Names and addresses of all persons who may have some knowledge of the facts of the case.
8. The criminal records of all persons the People intend to call at the trial.
9. All reports and memoranda prepared by the People in connection with the investigation of the case.
10. The results of reports of any scientific tests, or copies of these reports; and finally
11. An order allowing defendant to have independent chemical analysis of the alleged marihuana.
While motions to discover and inspect are being more liberally allowed in recent years by the courts, the absence of statutory authority in this State (see Fed. Rules Crim. Pro., rule 16) presents difficulty in uniformity.
In an early case, People v. Gatti (167 Misc. 545), Judge Freschi began by saying: "In the absence of specific statutory provision authorizing discovery and inspection in criminal causes, the difficulty presented in all like cases is where to draw the line between granting of such relief and its denial. If the courts were to grant such a forced disclosure of the prosecution's evidence, it is contended, with which I am in entire accord, it would subvert the whole system of criminal justice. * * * The general rule is that the accused has no right to the inspection or disclosure of evidence in the possession ...