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Court says lab analyst must testify to own work

Publication Date: 
June 23, 2011
Source: 
Dayton Daily News
Author: 
MARK SHERMAN, The Associated Press

Professor Jeffrey Fisher spoke with Mark Sherman of the Associated Press on how "reassuring" it is to see that all of the Supreme Court justices signed onto most of Justice Ginsburg's opinion in the case of a New Mexico man who objected when the lab analyst who testified about lab tests had no role in performing them.

The Supreme Court on Thursday said the lab analyst who testifies at a criminal trial must be the one who performed or witnessed the lab tests in question, the latest decision bolstering the constitutional requirement that defendants be able to confront witnesses against them.

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled in favor of a New Mexico man convicted of drunken driving who objected when the lab analyst who testified about lab tests had no role in performing them.

The ruling reversed a New Mexico Supreme Court decision in the state's favor.