Articles Tagged with melendez-diaz

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).

Here are the military justice related articles in the new Army Lawyer.

Searching for Reasonableness—The Supreme Court Revisits the Fourth Amendment

“I’ve Got to Admit It’s Getting Better”*: New Developments in Post-Trial

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.

Here is a link to the full cert petition in Pendergrass v. Indiana.  The question presented is:

Whether the Confrontation Clause permits the prosecution to introduce testimonial statements of a nontestifying forensic analyst through the in-court testimony of a supervisor or other person who did not perform or observe the laboratory analysis described in the statements.

Pendergrass v. State, 913 N.E.2d 703 (Ind. 2009).

Well, that may be anti-climatic?  I think the Supremes punted.  Here’s a link to the Briscoe memorandum opinion, more later.

PER CURIAM. We vacate the judgment of the Supreme Court of Vir-ginia and remand the case for further proceedings not inconsistent with the opinion in Melendez-Diaz v. Massa-chusetts, 557 U. S. ___ (2009).

Here is a case from

Supervisor expert testified about his role in the peer review process; passing reference to the testing chemist’s conclusion did not violate the Confrontation Clause; circuit also distinguishes Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 557 U.S. __, 129 S.Ct. 2527 (2009), in United States v. Turner," _ F.3d _ (7th Cir. Jan. 12, 2010) (No. 08-3109)

A recent Seventh Circuit case revisits the issue of expert testimony which refers to the analysis of another expert. Is the Confrontation Clause violated when a supervisor testifies about the peer review process, his role in confirming reviewing the test results, and the initial results of another chemist? On the fact of the case, the circuit concluded there was no constitutional violation.

Here is a link to today’s oral argument in Briscoe v. Virginia, the post Crawford and Melendez-Diaz case.

While I’m not convinced the decision will have much meaning in military cases, there are others who believe it will.  So it does behoove us to monitor the case.

Briscoe v. Virginia, a post Crawford and Melendez-Diaz case is scheduled to be argued at the U. S. Supreme Court on 11 January 2010.  Professor Friedman will argue for petitioner Briscoe.

Professor Friedman notes that, “I have just served and filed the reply in Briscoe. You can read it by clicking here.”

All of the prior documents about this case can be found at SCOTUSWiki.  This case is of importance to military justice practitioners.  There are several cases pending within military appellate courts that might be affected by Briscoe, as well as some cases pending at court-martial.  Some of my prior comments are here.

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