Thursday, June 25, 2009

In a 5-4 majority, USSC says they still like the Confrontation Clause

The USSC has re-affirmed its commitment to the Confrontation Clause today.

Synopsis: A defendant has the right to cross-examine the lab analyst who analyzed a purported controlled substance. In Massachusetts, state law allowed a certified copy of the lab analyst's report to be admitted into evidence as proof of the substance's content. USSC says that violates the Confrontation Clause, because such lab reports are accusatory in nature.

Here's the opinion in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts.

Somewhat odd alliance on this one: Scalia authors majority, joined by Stevens, Thomas, Souter, and Ginsburg. Kennedy dissents, joined by Roberts, Breyer, and Alito.

h/t to MS Office of Indigent Appeals via their Twitter feed, @MOIA_Jackson.

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