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Court Rule 7:7-7. Discovery and Inspection

  • Rule 7:7-7. Discovery and Inspection 

    (a) Scope. If the government is represented by the municipal prosecutor or a private prosecutor in a cross complaint case, discovery shall be available to the parties only as provided by this rule, unless the court otherwise orders. All discovery requests by defendant shall be served on the municipal prosecutor, who shall be responsible for making government discovery available to the defendant. If the matter is, however, not being prosecuted by the municipal prosecutor, the municipal prosecutor shall transmit defendant's discovery requests to the private prosecutor in a cross complaint case, pursuant to R. 7:8-7(b). 

    (b) Discovery by Defendant. Unless the defendant agrees to more limited discovery, in all cases, the defendant, on written notice to the municipal prosecutor or private prosecutor in a cross complaint case, shall be provided with copies of all relevant material, including, but not limited to, the following: 

    (1) books, tangible objects, papers or documents obtained from or belonging to the defendant, including, but not limited to, writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, video and sound recordings, images, electronically stored information, and any other data or data compilations stored in any medium from which information can be obtained and translated, if necessary, into reasonably usable form; 

    (2) records of statements or confessions, signed or unsigned, by the defendant or copies thereof, and a summary of any admissions or declarations against penal interest made by the defendant that are known to the prosecution but not recorded; 

    (3) grand jury proceedings recorded pursuant to R. 3:6-6; 

    (4) results or reports of physical or mental examinations and of scientific tests or experiments made in connection with the matter or copies of these results or reports, that are within the possession, custody or control of the prosecuting attorney; 

    (5) reports or records of defendant's prior convictions; 

    (6) books, originals or copies of papers and documents, or tangible objects, buildings or places that are within the possession, custody or control of the government, 

    including, but not limited to, writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, video and sound recordings, images, electronically stored information, and any other data or data compilations stored in any medium from which information can be obtained and translated, if necessary, into reasonably usable form; 

    (7) names, addresses, and birthdates of any persons whom the prosecuting attorney knows to have relevant evidence or information, including a designation by the prosecuting attorney as to which of those persons the prosecuting attorney may call as witnesses; 

    (8) record of statements, signed or unsigned, by the persons described by subsection (7) of this rule or by co-defendants within the possession, custody or control of the prosecuting attorney, and any relevant record of prior conviction of those persons; 

    (9) police reports that are within the possession, custody or control of the prosecuting attorney; 

    (10) warrants, that have been completely executed, and any papers accompanying them, as described by R. 7:5-1(a). 

    (11) the names and addresses of each person whom the prosecuting attorney expects to call to trial as an expert witness, the expert's qualifications, the subject matter on which the expert is expected to testify, a copy of the report, if any, of the expert witness, or if no report was prepared, a statement of the facts and opinions to which the expert is expected to testify and a summary of the grounds for each opinion. If this information is requested and not furnished, the expert witness may, upon application by the defendant, be barred from testifying at trial. 

    (c) Discovery by the State. In all cases, the municipal prosecutor or the private prosecutor in a cross complaint case, on written notice to the defendant, shall be provided with copies of all relevant material, including, but not limited to, the following: 

    (1) results or reports of physical or mental examinations and of scientific tests or experiments made in connection with the matter or copies of these results or reports within the possession, custody or control of the defendant or defense counsel; 

    (2) any relevant books, originals or copies of papers and other documents or tangible objects, buildings or places within the possession, custody or control of the defendant or defense counsel, including, but not limited to, writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, video and sound recordings, images, electronically stored information, and any other data or data compilations stored in any medium from which information can be obtained and translated, if necessary, into reasonably usable form; 

    (3) the names, addresses, and birthdates of those persons known to defendant who may be called as witnesses at trial and their written statements, if any, including memoranda reporting or summarizing their oral statements;

    (4) written statements, if any, including any memoranda reporting or summarizing the oral statements, made by any witnesses whom the government may call as a witness at trial; and 

    (5) the names and addresses of each person whom the defense expects to call to trial as an expert witness, the expert's qualifications, the subject matter on which the expert is expected to testify, and a copy of the report, if any, of such expert witness, or if no report is prepared, a statement of the facts and opinions to which the expert is expected to testify and a summary of the grounds for each opinion. If this information is requested and not furnished, the expert may, upon application by the prosecuting attorney, be barred from testifying at trial. 

    (d) Documents Not Subject to Discovery. This rule does not require discovery of a party's work product, consisting of internal reports, memoranda or documents made by that party or by that party's attorney or agents, in connection with the investigation, prosecution or defense of the matter. Nor does it require discovery by the government of records or statements, signed or unsigned, by defendant made to defendant's attorney or agents.

    (e) Reasonableness of Cost. Upon motion of any party, the court may consider the reasonableness of the cost of discovery ordered by the court to be disseminated to the parties. If the court finds that the cost charged for discovery is unreasonable, the court may order the cost reduced or make such other order as is appropriate. 

    (f) Protective Orders. 

    (1) Grounds. Upon motion and for good cause shown, the court may at any time order that the discovery sought pursuant to this rule be denied, restricted, or deferred or make such other order as is appropriate. In determining the motion, the court may consider the following: protection of witnesses and others from physical harm, threats of harm, bribes, economic reprisals and other intimidation; maintenance of such secrecy regarding informants as is required for effective investigation of criminal activity; confidential information recognized by law, including protection of confidential relationships and privileges recognized by law; and any other relevant considerations. 

    (2) Procedures. The court may permit the showing of good cause to be made, in whole or in part, in the form of a written statement to be inspected by the court alone. If the court enters a protective order, the entire text of the statement shall be sealed and preserved in the court's records, to be made available only to the appellate court in the event of an appeal. 

    (g) Time and Procedure. A defense request for discovery shall be made contemporaneously with the entry of appearance by the defendant's attorney, who shall submit a copy of the appearance and demand for discovery directly to the municipal prosecutor. If the defendant is not represented, any requests for discovery shall be made in writing and submitted by the defendant directly to the municipal prosecutor. The municipal prosecutor shall respond to the discovery request in accordance with paragraph 

    (b) of this rule within 10 days after receiving the request. Unless otherwise ordered by the judge, the defendant shall provide the prosecutor with discovery, as provided by paragraph (c) of this rule, within 20 days of the prosecuting attorney's compliance with the defendant's discovery request. If any discoverable materials known to a party have not been supplied, the party obligated with providing that discovery shall also provide the opposing party with a listing of the materials that are missing and explain why they have not been supplied. Unless otherwise ordered by the judge, the parties may provide discovery pursuant to paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (h) of this rule through the use of CD, DVD, e-mail, internet or other electronic means. Documents provided through electronic means shall be in PDF format. All other discovery shall be provided in an open, publicly available (non-proprietary) format that is compatible with any standard operating computer. If discovery is not provided in a PDF or open, publicly available format, the transmitting party shall include a self-extracting computer program that will enable the recipient to access and view the files that have been provided. Upon motion of the recipient, and for good cause shown, the court shall order that discovery be provided in the format in which the transmitting party originally received it. In all cases in which an Alcotest device is used, any Alcotest data shall, upon request, be provided for any Alcotest 7110 relevant to a particular defendant's case in a readable digital database format generally available to consumers in the open market. In all cases in which discovery is provided through electronic means, the transmitting party shall also include a list of the materials that were provided and, in the case of multiple disks, the specific disk on which they can be located. 

    (h) Motions for Discovery. No motion for discovery shall be made unless the prosecutor and defendant have conferred and attempted to reach agreement on any discovery issues, including any issues pertaining to discovery provided through the use of CD, DVD, e-mail, internet or other electronic means. 

    (i) Discovery Fees. 

    (1) Standard Fees. The municipal prosecutor, or a private prosecutor in a cross-complaint case, may charge a fee for a copy or copies of discovery. The fee assessed for discovery embodied in the form of printed matter shall be $ 0.05 per letter size page or smaller, and $ 0.07 per legal size page or larger. From time to time, as necessary, these rates may be revised pursuant to a schedule promulgated by the Administrative Director of the Courts. If the prosecutor can demonstrate that the actual costs for copying discovery exceed the foregoing rates, the prosecutor shall be permitted to charge a reasonable amount equal to the actual costs of copying. The actual copying costs shall be the costs of materials and supplies used to copy the discovery, but shall not include the costs of labor or other overhead expenses associated with making the copies, except as provided for in paragraph (i)(2) of this rule. Electronic records and non-printed materials shall be provided free of charge, but the prosecutor may charge for the actual costs of any needed supplies such as computer discs. 

    (2) Special Service Charge for Printed Copies. Whenever the nature, format, manner of collation, or volume of discovery embodied in the form of printed matter to be copied is such that the discovery cannot be reproduced by ordinary document 

    copying equipment in ordinary business size, or is such that it would involve an extraordinary expenditure of time and effort to copy, the prosecutor may charge, in addition to the actual copying costs, a special service charge that shall be reasonable and shall be based upon the actual direct costs of providing the copy or copies. Pursuant to R. 7:7-1, the defendant shall have the opportunity to review and object to the charge prior to it being incurred. 

    (3) Special Service Charge for Electronic Records. If the defendant requests an electronic record: (1) in a medium or format not routinely used by the prosecutor; (2) not routinely developed or maintained by the prosecutor; or (3) requiring a substantial amount of manipulation or programming of information technology, the prosecutor may charge, in addition to the actual cost of duplication, a special charge that shall be reasonable and shall be based on (1) the cost for any extensive use of information technology, or (2) the labor cost of personnel providing the service that is actually incurred by the prosecutor or attributable to the prosecutor for the programming, clerical, and supervisory assistance required, or (3) both. Pursuant to R. 7:7-1, the defendant shall have the opportunity to review and object to the charge prior to it being incurred. 

    (j) Continuing Duty to Disclose; Failure to Comply. There shall be a continuing duty to provide discovery pursuant to this rule. If at any time during the course of the proceedings it is brought to the attention of the court that a party has failed to comply with this rule or with an order issued pursuant to this rule, the court may order that party to provide the discovery of materials not previously disclosed, grant a continuance, prohibit the party from introducing in evidence the material not disclosed or enter such other order as it deems appropriate. 

    Note: Source - Paragraph (a): new; paragraph (b): R. (1969) 7:4-2(h), 3:13-3(c); paragraph (c): R. (1969) 7:4-2(h), 3:13-3(d); paragraph (d): R. (1969) 7:4-2(h), 3:13-3(e); paragraph (e): R. (1969) 7:4-2(h), 3:13-3(f); paragraph (f) new; paragraph (g): R. (1969) 7:4-2(h), 3:13-3(g). Adopted October 6, 1997 effective February 1, 1998; paragraph (c) amended July 5, 2000 to be effective September 5, 2000; paragraph (f) amended July 16, 2009 to be effective September 1, 2009; paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) amended, new paragraph (e) caption and text adopted, former paragraphs (e), (f), and (g) redesignated as paragraphs (f), (g), and (h) July 21, 2011 to be effective September 1, 2011; paragraphs (b), (c), (f), and (g) amended, new paragraphs (h) and (i) adopted, paragraph (h) redesignated as paragraph (j) and amended December 4, 2012 to be effective January 1, 2013; subparag 


Kenneth Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year
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Kenneth Vercammen was the NJ State Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year and past president of the Middlesex County Municipal Prosecutors Association.

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