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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JAMES MELVIN SMITH (12/05/91)

filed: December 5, 1991.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT,
v.
JAMES MELVIN SMITH



Appeal from the Order in the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County, Criminal Division, No. C.A. 789 of 1990 (AL)

COUNSEL

Paula Aigner, Asst. Dist. Atty., Hollidaysburg, for Com., appellant.

Terry W. Despoy, Altoona, for appellee.

Tamilia, Kelly and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Tamilia

The Commonwealth appeals from the February 28, 1991 Order of the trial court excluding from trial scientific evidence pertaining to the results of DNA testing.

On April 19, 1990, appellee was charged with rape, statutory rape and corruption of minors. The crimes were allegedly perpetrated against the eight year old step-daughter of the appellee. At a preliminary hearing on June 29, 1990, the district attorney's office learned that seminal fluid was identified on the dress of the victim. Although DNA

[ 410 Pa. Super. Page 387]

    testing was supposed to be initiated at that time, it was not until the first week of October, 1990, the district attorney's office became aware that blood samples from the appellee, required for DNA testing, had not been obtained. The blood samples used in the testing, however, were not taken until January 15, 1991. On February 25, 1991, about one week before the trial was to begin, the Commonwealth advised defense counsel they intended to use at trial a summarized preliminary report of the DNA test results. When the district attorney's office received the preliminary report, they immediately electronically transmitted a copy of the report to appellee's counsel. The Commonwealth did not have the full report at the time of the suppression hearing. On February 27, 1991, appellee filed a pretrial motion seeking suppression of the DNA evidence, or in the alternative, the grant of a continuance and appointment of an expert to analyze the DNA results. The trial court granted appellee's suppression motion, finding the Commonwealth clearly violated the mandatory disclosure requirements of Pa.R.Crim.P. 305 B.*fn1 The ...


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