State v. McCoy, 228 N.C. App. 488 (Aug. 6, 2013)

The trial court did not err by refusing to provide defense counsel with an internal investigation report prepared by the police department’s Office of Professional Standards and Inspections regarding a lead detective in the investigation. During the trial prosecutors learned of an ongoing internal investigation of the detective. The State informed the trial court and defense counsel of this and decided not to call the detective as a witness. The trial court examined the report in camera and issued an oral ruling noting that the report detailed a problem in the detective’s life that could have affected his job performance. However, it found that there was no evidence that the detective was experiencing the problem at the time of the investigation in question. The trial court noted that the report suggests that the detective may not have been honest in his internal investigation disclosures but again found no connection to the case at hand. The court of appeals held that the trial court did not violate the defendant’s constitutional rights by refusing to disclose the contents of the report to counsel. The court found that it was unable to conclude that the report was material “when the State was able to prove its case through the testimony of other law enforcement officers and without [the] Detective . . . ever taking the stand.”