Monday, June 29, 2009

Supreme Court Rules In Crime Lab Case

Last week the United States Supreme Court ruled that defendants have a constitutional right to cross examine crime lab analysts who prepare lab reports on drug cases and other cases. Roughly 20 states give defendants the right to cross examine the analysts that prepare lab reports. Illinois is one of those states. However, about 30 states do not give defendants that right. Massachusetts did not give Luis Melendez-Diaz the right to cross examine and challenge the lab reports when he was convicted of possession of cocaine. Massachusetts courts rejected his plea to challenge the lab reports and he was turned down. On Thursday the Supreme Court ruled in his favor and found that he had a constitutional right to confront his accusers. The court ruled that Melendez had the right to question the lab analyst about testing methods, how the evidence was preserved and any other issues.

The case involved some unusual alliances. The majority consisted of Justices Scalia, Ginsberg, Souter, Stevens and Thomas. The dissent consisted of Kennedy, Roberts, Alito and Breyer.

The case is Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 07-591.

For more information about the Chicago Criminal Defense Attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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