Bostic v. State

In Bostic v. State, 805 P.2d 344, 347-48 (Alaska 1991) the court noted that a continuance is "ordinarily the appropriate remedy for a discovery violation," but it held that a mistrial may be warranted when a mid-trial discovery violation undermines the theory of the case to which the nonoffender has committed himself. Under such circumstances, a continuance offers the non-offender "only more time to agonize over how to unring a bell that should never have been rung in the first place." In contrast, a mistrial permits the defendant to "restructure his defense in light of the sudden revelation of information which he was entitled to have all along." The court also held that the mid-trial discovery violation was presumptively prejudicial. The court ruled that "the burden rests on the state to show that the defendant has not been prejudiced in the manner he specifically claims." But Bostic does not suggest that dismissal is an appropriate sanction for a discovery violation. Instead, if a defendant articulates a plausible way in which his case is prejudiced, and the prosecution fails to rebut that claim, Bostic provides that the defendant is entitled to a mistrial, rather than merely a continuance.