US - Supreme Court... Defense Has A Right To Cross-Examine Forensic Experts

Discussion in 'General Information & Discussion' started by Wudge, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. Wudge

    Wudge New Member

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    "Criminal defendants on trial have a Sixth Amendment right to cross-examine forensic experts who prepare lab reports for submission as evidence against them, the US Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

    The 5-to-4 decision invalidates a Massachusetts law that authorized the introduction of neutral, scientific tests without giving the defendant an opportunity to question the testing technician during the trial.

    Now, instead of simply admitting such results as evidence, a technician must appear personally in court to satisfy the requirements of the Sixth Amendment's confrontation clause. "
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    "Kennedy and the dissenting justices warn that the court's holding will result in uncertainty and disruption of the criminal justice system. He says there aren't enough forensic experts to conduct the necessary tests and still be available to testify at trial.

    "Guilty defendants will go free, on the most technical grounds, as a direct result of today's decision, adding nothing to the truth-finding process," Kennedy wrote. "

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0625/p02s21-usju.html

    This is a huge ruling. Defense attorneys are rejoicing. Assuredly, there will be fewer wrongful covictions and fewer Nifong-style shenanigans.
     
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  3. In da Middle

    In da Middle of everything

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    I don't know why this had to even go to this level. It seems like common (and legal) sense to me. If we have the right to cross examine our accusers, I think this applies. These experts are essentially "accusing" the defendant by my book.
     

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