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Bail reform laws put crime lab under pressure; some tests must meet 15-day deadline

The Monroe County Crime Lab will soon be under pressure by new criminal justice laws coming January 1.

“It’s really going to put everyone under the gun,” said defense attorney Vince Merante.

The laws are included in a bail reform package that limits the time someone accused of a crime can spend in jail prior to their trial. They also force prosecutors to turn over all evidence in a case within 15 days of an arrest – including complicated DNA evidence.

A case to prove murder is often methodically pieced together with evidence from many sources. Our justice system requires all proof, called discovery, be turned over to the person accused of the crime.

“The prosecutor usually says, ‘Here’s your discovery, I’ll give you the rest of next week,'” said Merante. “The judge will say that is okay, but now it will be strictly enforced.”

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