Terminology: Trombetta Standard

This came up during an appeal hearing the other day, and the Defense Counsel, District Attorney and Judge all started reading out of their law books at the speed of light.  Luckily, I found a book on the Destruction of Evidence on google books on my phone, and was able to could keep up with their arguments.  Below are the basics, with some of the key terms, names and dates.  The next time this one comes up, we’ll be ready!

From the Supreme Court case California v. Trombetta (1984)

The Trombetta Standard for Constitutional Materiality is the standard by which destroyed evidence is judged. There are three parts that are considered:

  1. The evidence must have exculpatory value.
  2. The Defense could not obtain comparable evidence by any other means.
  3. The exculpatory value must have been apparent before the evidence was destroyed.


(From Destruction of Evidence by Jamie S. Gorelick, Stephen Marzen and Lawrence Solum)

For more information on the case law, click here.


Spanish – Estándar de Trombetta

Spanish interpreters, please feel free to submit ideas and alternative translations for the terms listed above.  Leave a comment below, or send me an email here.

Don’t see your language? We need your help! Please submit possible translations in your language here. (Be sure to include the term in English as well.)


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