Washington DUI defense attorneys often have to fight vigorously to ensure they get information from the State. In DUI cases, the State sometimes fails to name the toxicologist who will testify until very close to the trial. In one particularly egregious case, the prosecution provided a list of potential witnesses and waited until the morning of the trial to identify the actual witness. We discussed this case following the Court of Appeals decision, and the Washington Supreme Court has recently reviewed it.
The defendant was charged with driving under the influence. Five months before the trial, the State disclosed a list of nine toxicologists, indicating one of them would testify. Two weeks before trial, the defendant filed a supplemental discovery request, seeking identification of the testifying witness. Three days before trial, the defendant moved to dismiss or suppress the testimony. On the day before the trial, the State narrowed the list to three names. It finally identified which toxicologist would testify on the morning of the trial.
The defendant moved to suppress the testimony based on the late disclosure. The trial court denied the motion, finding no actual prejudice to the defense. The court also noted that the practice of providing a list rather than disclosing a specific name was caused by underfunding of crime labs rather than mismanagement.