Legal experts and prosecutors are quite concerned about possible results of the June 25, 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts 07-591. In this decision the Court has ruled that forensic analysts conducting tests must be in court to testify about their test results and that lab sheets that identify a substance as a narcotic, or breath test printouts describing a suspect’s blood-alcohol level are no longer to be considered as sufficient evidence. A person is now required to be in court to talk about the test results. The basic question the Supreme Court addressed in this opinion was: “Is a state forensic analyst’s laboratory report prepared for use in a criminal prosecution “testimonial” evidence subject to the demands of the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause as set forth in Crawford v. Washington?”* In its ruling the Supreme Court answered, yes.
_________________________ *The above quote was taken from discussion of this opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court Oyez website at. http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2008/2008_07_591 . This site also includes links to the text of the opinion as well at to the Syllabus, dissent, concurrance, and argument. For additional information see discussion in a July 15, 2009 Washington Post article by Tom Jackman, and follow the link on the U.S. Supreme Court website.
U.S. Supreme Court Decision Requires Forensic Analysts to Testify in Court