The statutory right to discovery is intentionally broad. The purpose of the discovery statute is to protect a defendant from unfair surprise by theintroduction of evidence that he cannot anticipate.
State v. Moncree,
655S.E.2d 464 (N.C. App. 2008). Indeed, the Court of Appeals in
recognized that the failure of a district attorney to provide the requireddiscovery “erodes the public trust not only in district attorneys but in anypublic official.” 655 S.E.2d at 468.The Court of Appeals has recently had to remind prosecutors of thebreadth of the statute. In
State v. Dunn
, 154 N.C. App. 1, 571 S.E.2d 650(2002), Defendant was charged with the sale of heroin. A significant issuewas whether the material in fact was heroin. Prior to trial, Defendantunsuccessfully attempted to obtain documentation necessary to challenge theSBI’s analysis of the substance.Defendant filed a Motion for Discovery on 28 March2000 requesting documents from SBI agents who testedthe substance bought from defendant. He requested“access to and a copy of all case notes ... describing,without limitation, the details of the samples received,and the condition thereof, as well as the full experimentalrecords of the test(s) performed.”
Defendant alsoasked for laboratory protocol documents, any reportsdocumenting “false positives” in SBI laboratory results,and information about the credentials of the individualswho tested the substance on behalf of the State. Elevenpages of laboratory notes from the SBI are included inthe record. The record contains no reports concerningfalse positives at the SBI laboratory, laboratory protocol