U.S. SUPREME COURT RECOGNIZES NATION'S CRIME LAB ERRORS

Jun 29, 2009 @ 12:06 PM — by Myles L. Berman

The United States Supreme Court recently held that a defendant in a criminal case has the constitutional right to cross exam governmentchemists who analyze chemical substances when the government seeks to introduce into evidence the lab reports prepared by government crime labsto prove the substance is what the government says it is. Prior to this ruling and as it relates to DUI / DrunkDriving prosecutions, some statesallowed government lab analysisreports into evidencewithout the need to call the analyst to testify as to the lab report contents. However, in California, this ruling doesn't change the admissibility of crime lab reports in DUI / Drunk Driving prosecutionsbecause courts in California have required experts from crime labs to testifyas to the preparation, contents and conclusions contained in the reports. The recent ruling clearly is an acknowledgement by the U.S. Supreme Court that through cross-examination by defense counsel in criminal cases, a criminal defendant's constitutional rights are protected. Errors in crime labs have been widely reported as well as discussed in my DUI / Drunk Drivingblogs in the past.

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