Lab technicians are not infallible!

Litigation Topics and News Relative to Accident Reconstruction
Post Reply
brian
Posts: 506
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:52 am

Lab technicians are not infallible!

Post by brian » Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:31 pm

Jan 7, 2009: Los Angeles Times editorial The price of justice
The Supreme Court should not backtrack on its ruling that the defense has a right to cross-examine experts who present lab reports for the prosecution. At a time when television crime dramas suggest that forensic testing is infallible, jurors are likely to give prosecutors the benefit of the doubt when they introduce a scientific report whose author can't be cross-examined about the care with which a test was conducted. When it reviews the Virginia ruling, the high court should render an opinion that says, in effect, "We were right the first time."
See the Full Editorial
Additional information on the ruling from LA Times, Jul 26, 2009 Supreme Court ruling shakes up criminal trials Cases have been thrown out and doubts linger after last month's decision giving defendants the right to question forensic technicians in court.
see the Full Story
Question? Comment? Please email forum@mchenrysoftware.com. Also see the McHenry Forum Index
Visit McHenrySoftware.com for technical information & software. McHenryConsultants.com for litigation consulting.
(c) McHenry Software, Inc ALL Rights Reserved.

brian
Posts: 506
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:52 am

Re: Lab technicians are not infallible!

Post by brian » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:17 pm

More background material on the cases surrounding the unusual move by the Supreme Court for a re-review of the Melendez-Diaz v Massachusetts decision:
Dec 20, 2009, Adam Liptak, New York Times, reported in the Boston Globe:
Justices revisit ruling forcing lab analysts to testify as Attorneys general call Mass. decision ‘unworkable’
WASHINGTON - Virginia Hernandez Lopez admitted to knocking back two shots of tequila with Sprite chasers on an August night in Julian, Calif., a couple of years ago. But she said she was not drunk when her Ford Explorer collided with an oncoming Toyota pickup later that night, killing its driver. In May, a California state appeals court affirmed Lopez’s conviction for vehicular manslaughter. Her blood-alcohol level two hours after the accident was, according to a report presented to the jury, just over the legal limit of .08 percent.
But the appeals court reconsidered the case after a decision in June from the US Supreme Court, Melendez-Diaz v Massachusetts, which prohibited prosecutors from introducing crime lab reports without testimony from the analysts who prepared them.
Applying the new precedent, the appeals court reversed Lopez’s conviction, saying prosecutors had violated her constitutional right to confront witnesses against her by failing to put the analyst who prepared the blood-alcohol report on the witness stand.
See the Full Story
Question? Comment? Please email forum@mchenrysoftware.com. Also see the McHenry Forum Index
Visit McHenrySoftware.com for technical information & software. McHenryConsultants.com for litigation consulting.
(c) McHenry Software, Inc ALL Rights Reserved.

MSI
Site Admin
Posts: 1249
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:37 pm

Re: Lab technicians are not infallible!

Post by MSI » Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:19 am

Oct 10, 2010: The New York Times Editorial Staff has also bellied up to the bar on the pending (today) arguments in the Supreme Court in Briscoe v. Virginia. They speculate that the odd rush to reconsider a recent prior ruling that it may be due to the change in the high court by the addition of Sotomayor (whom the NY Times cites is a former assistant district attorney and possibly sympathetic to the added burden put on prosecutors in the prior Supreme Court ruling)
See The Right to Confront Witnesses
The editorial include that "The justices should reaffirm that the Sixth Amendment requires prosecutors to call the lab analysts whose work they rely on". and "using lab reports without calling the analysts violates the Sixth Amendment" and
"If the court changes the rule, it would be a significant setback for civil liberties, and not just in cases involving lab evidence. Prosecutors might use the decision to justify offering all sorts of affidavits, videotaped statements and other evidence from absent witnesses".
See the Full Editorial
Question? Comment? Please email forum@mchenrysoftware.com. Also see the McHenry Forum Index
Visit McHenrySoftware.com for technical information & software.
(c) McHenry Software, Inc ALL Rights Reserved.

brian
Posts: 506
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:52 am

Re: Lab technicians are not infallible!

Post by brian » Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:39 pm

Jan 26, 1010: The Los Angeles Times reported that the Supreme Court dismisses challenge to ruling on forensic experts
The Supreme Court dismissed a pending challenge to a ruling they had made last year which requires lab technicians and other forensic specialists to be available to testify at trails.
See the Full Story
Question? Comment? Please email forum@mchenrysoftware.com. Also see the McHenry Forum Index
Visit McHenrySoftware.com for technical information & software. McHenryConsultants.com for litigation consulting.
(c) McHenry Software, Inc ALL Rights Reserved.

Post Reply