HB987: Defense counsel; provides certificate of analysis at no charge.

HOUSE BILL NO. 987
Offered January 11, 2006
Prefiled January 11, 2006
A BILL to amend and reenact § 19.2-187 of the Code of Virginia, relating to providing certificates of analysis to defense counsel.
Patron-- Shannon

Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1.  That § 19.2-187 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 19.2-187. Admission into evidence of certain certificates of analysis.

In any hearing or trial of any criminal offense or in any proceeding brought pursuant to Chapter 22.1 (§ 19.2-386.1 et seq.) of this title, a certificate of analysis of a person performing an analysis or examination, performed in any laboratory operated by the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services or the Department of Forensic Science or authorized by such Department to conduct such analysis or examination, or performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the federal Postal Inspection Service, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, or the United States Secret Service Laboratory when such certificate is duly attested by such person, shall be admissible in evidence as evidence of the facts therein stated and the results of the analysis or examination referred to therein, provided (i) the certificate of analysis is filed with the clerk of the court hearing the case at least seven days prior to the hearing or trial and (ii) a copy of such certificate is mailed or delivered by the clerk or attorney for the Commonwealth to counsel of record for the accused at least seven days prior to the hearing or trial upon request made by such counsel to the clerk with notice of the request to the attorney for the Commonwealth. The request to the clerk shall be on a form prescribed by the Supreme Court and filed with the clerk at least 10 days prior to trial. In the event that a request for a copy of a certificate is filed with the clerk with respect to a case that is not yet before the court, the clerk shall advise the requester that he must resubmit the request at such time as the case is properly before the court in order for such request to be effective. A copy of the certificate shall be made available by the clerk, at the office of the clerk, to the defendant or counsel of record for the defendant upon request, at no charge.

The certificate of analysis of any examination conducted by the Department of Forensic Science relating to a controlled substance or marijuana shall be mailed or forwarded by personnel of the Department of Forensic Science to the attorney for the Commonwealth of the jurisdiction where such offense may be heard. The attorney for the Commonwealth shall acknowledge receipt of the certificate on forms provided by the laboratory.

Any such certificate of analysis purporting to be signed by any such person shall be admissible as evidence in such hearing or trial without any proof of the seal or signature or of the official character of the person whose name is signed to it.