Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Affidavit in support of access to a DNA lab file

Some attorneys report to me that they are having trouble gaining access to the laboratory files maintained in DNA cases. I have prepared the affidavit below and perhaps that will of assistance should you run into discovery problems.


1. My name is Norman Adam Tebrugge. I have been a member of the Florida Bar since May 22, 1985. I became board certified as a criminal trial attorney in 1999. I spent twenty-three years employed as an assistant public defender for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit. For eighteen of those years I was assigned to the capital trials division. For the past five years I have been the owner/operator of Tebrugge Legal in Bradenton, Florida. At Tebrugge Legal I specialize in the defense of serious criminal cases, appeals, post-conviction, and consult with other attorneys on matters concerning DNA and forensic science.

2. In 1991 I represented a Defendant named John W. This case involved the first use of forensic DNA testing in the 12th Judicial Circuit. My co-counsel and I litigated the DNA issues extensively.

3. Since that time I have been involved in the litigation of dozens of serious felony cases involving DNA evidence. I have worked with DNA experts employed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Lab Corp of America, and other DNA testing facilities. I have also undergone training on several occasions, including attendance at “DNA for the Defense” sponsored by the National Center for Science, Technology and the Law in cooperation with the National Institute for Justice.

4. I have been called upon to train lawyers throughout the State of Florida about the proper investigation of cases involving DNA. Most recently, on September 19, 2013, I delivered a lecture at the annual capital training conference. The title of the lecture was “Litigating Flawed Forensic Science Cases at Every Stage.” More than 100 capital trial attorneys received continuing legal education credits at this lecture.

5. In ever case involving DNA evidence that I have ever been associated with, I have obtained the complete laboratory file from the agency that performed the testing. This lab file has been voluntarily turned over to me upon request in every instance.

6. The complete laboratory file contains relevant information about the processing of the critical evidence in a DNA case. The typical laboratory file contains documentation of the exact evidence handled, chain of custody, a case tracking form, evidence screening forms, serology, a “STR Summary Sheet” (if STR was the method of testing used), extraction methods, quality control assurances, a statistics report,  and graphic information showing the results that were interpreted by the analyst.

7. I am of the opinion that the minimum standards of professional competence for an attorney handling a case involving DNA evidence requires that the attorney acquire the complete laboratory file. Without this file the attorney is unable to challenge the evidence in a meaningful manner and this can lead to a complete breakdown of the adversarial process.

8. Effective July 1, 2013, before allowing expert testimony, the courts of this state must consider whether:
1.    the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data;
2.   the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
3.   the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.
     The only way for counsel for the Defendant to consider and determine whether DNA evidence meets this criteria is for the attorney to acquire the complete DNA laboratory file.

Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have prepared and reviewed this affidavit for accuracy and that the facts stated in it are true.

N. Adam Tebrugge   
Florida Bar # 0473650
Board Certified Criminal Trial Attorney

Tebrugge Legal
520 12th St. W. #203
Bradenton, Fl. 34205
(941) 544-6151

No comments:

Post a Comment