leifertlaw January 18, 2010 Courts
Last week, USA Today reported that the Supreme Court had reopened a 2009 case involving the question of whether criminal prosecutors who introduce lab reports of drug or blood evidence must call the analyst who prepared the report to testify. The original ruling last June stated that criminal defendants have the right to confront the witnesses against them; therefore, the analyst needs to present findings in live testimony.
However, the decision has gotten protests from a majority of states, who claim it has placed extra burden on their labs. The new case asks the justices to limit or overturn the 2009 decision, saying that prosecutors are reducing the charges or dropping drug charges altogether because states don’t have enough lab analysts to provide witnesses in criminal cases.
According to the Virginia Supreme Court, the confrontation right is satisfied if the defendant has the chance to call a prosecution witness for cross-examining. But criminal defense attorneys say this puts on the burden on the prosecution to call the analyst. Our South Florida criminal defense lawyers will be interested in seeing how this issue plays out.
Source: States protest Supreme Court ruling on live testimony, USAToday.com, January 11, 2010
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