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Name: People v. Varghese
Case #: D048456
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/08/2008

The trial court did not err when it denied appellant the right to conduct a DNA test on the remaining blood sample. In an appeal from his conviction for first degree murder of his ex-wife’s boyfriend, Varghese argued that the trial court erred in refusing to allow independent DNA testing of a blood stain found at the murder scene. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding no error. The prosecution had conducted DNA testing, and the remainder of the sample was insufficient to allow additional testing by both parties. The second test would have to permit the defense to scrutinize the evidence without destroying it through testing procedures, leaving it unuseable as corroboration at trial if the defense challenged the results. In this case, the sample could not be adequately divided. The judge gave the defense the option of selecting a neutral expert, and the option of keeping the test results confidential.
The trial court did not err when it seized appellant’s computer. Varghese also contended that the trial court erred in refusing to suppress evidence found on his computer. He argued that the initial seizure of the computer was improper because it was not listed on the search warrant, and the later warrant authorizing the search was not supported by probable cause. The appellate court rejected the argument. Even if the computer was not listed as an item to be seized under the first warrant, it could be seized with probable cause. It was reasonable to believe that appellant used the computer to conduct correspondence with his ex-wife, and that the correspondence might be important to show Varghese’s jealousy of his ex-wife’s relationship with the victim, and also to show his state of mind. Therefore probable cause existed to seize the computer.