CAAF’s daily journal for 10 June 2010 indicates that CAAF has allowed NIMJ to file a brief on behalf of appellant (I abstained from participation in producing said brief), and allowed NACDL to file an amicus pleading but denied NACDL leave to file an “oversized brief.”
CAAFLog advises that Pendergrass v. Indiana, No. 09-866, is scheduled for the 10 June case conference at the Supremes. Here courtesy of Prof. Freidman counsel for Pendergrass and also of Melendez-Diaz and Briscoe “fame,” is the Pendergrass cert petition. Here also is the state of Indiana’s brief in opposition to certiorari at this link.
The issue will potentially impact United States v. Blazier , 68 M.J. 544 (A. F. Ct. Crim. App. 2008) (yes, that’s the correct volume according to LEXIS), concerning whether surrogate expert testimony complies with Melendez-Diaz. C.A.A.F. partially decided some issues, but:
[W]e order briefing from the parties, and invite briefing from the government and defense
appellate divisions from the other services, on the following:
Thanks to Professor Colin Miller for this piece.
In Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, the Supreme Court recently found that certificates of state laboratory analysts are "testimonial" and thus covered by the Confrontation Clause. Thus, if the forensic analysts (or similar experts) who prepared such certificates (or similar documents) do not testify at a criminal defendant’s trial, the certificates are inadmissible. Does the prosecution, however, solve this problem by not admitting these certificates but having other experts offer their "own" conclusions based upon these certificates? That certainly seems to be the case based upon a recent opinion of the Court of Appeals of North Carolina and the recent opinion of the Eleventh Circuit in United States v, Winston, 2010 WL 1253809 (11th Cir. 2010).
United States v. Blazier. Here are the relevant portions of the opinion written by Judge Ryan for the moment.
This case presents the question whether the admission of drug testing reports” over defense objection violated Appellant’s rights under the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause. The antecedent question, whether certain admitted evidence was testimonial, we answer affirmatively, and contrary to the decision of the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA), United States v. Blazier, 68 M.J. 544 (A.F. Ct. Crim. App. 2008).
Having resolved the threshold question, and given the ubiquity of drug testing within the
military, we conclude that additional briefing is warranted prior to final disposition of the case.