By Rebecca Waters @ Forensic Magazine
Get ready to trade your lab coat for a suit coat. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last Thursday will require crime lab analysts to appear in court and submit to cross-examination if their reports are entered into evidence. This ruling could have tremendous impacts on how crime labs operate and exacerbate the backlog problems that plague crime labs nationwide.
The contentious 5-4 ruling in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts asserts that forensic analysts must testify under the Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause granting defendants the right to confront witnesses against them. Previously analysts could be subpoenaed to court to explain their reports or methodology, but it was a rare practice.