“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I usually don't have to worry too much about cases from the Supremes... most of what I do when working & arresting people is pretty straightforward, and I don't work near any of the lines they tend to make legal judgments on. Unfortunately though they do every now & then make rulings which affect us all across the board in a negative way... I don't often disagree with our judiciary publicly, but this one I think they called wrong.

This term's choice is the Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts ruling handed down recently... In a nutshell the court has ruled that for a defendant at trial to be afforded his right to confront witnesses, that has to include the technicians, analysts, etc who may have been involved in the case. Now, for a long time, most of this stuff has been "stipulated" in court - the attorneys, judges etc. all basically agreed that the tests and documents of the results weren't something that had to be contested each and every time in trial. The technician performing the test, or providing the document or whatever was an outside party merely performing an duty & had no personal interest in the case, so was in theory not biased one way or another.

Now, however, that's going to all change. The lab technician analyzing the drugs from the bust is going to have to show up in court to be available for cross-examination. The guy who ran the breath test on your drunk is going to have to show up on his day off. Potentially it could lead as far as the guy who calibrated your radar system might be called to court to discuss his work.

Along with the fact that these people are going to be inconvenienced, the courts themselves are going to get hurt by this. Because that's just another layer of people that they have to coordinate dates & times for during a trial. Another layer of people that testify, slowing down the day.

Now, I'm not saying that defendants shouldn't be able to challenge things in question, and I'm all for the whole "confront your accuser" thing. But, seriously - do we really have people completely uninvolved in these cases just making up the results? I'm at a loss to even think of one instance where that has happened...

So yes, I think they made the wrong call on this one... We will have to see how the lawyers decide to work with it, but I think it's going to slow things down a lot.


Mrs. "Smith" said...

It sounds like this is going to slow things down a lot. Lots of cities are already strapped for cash, how are they supposed to deal with the overtime this is going to bring about?

Front Porch Society said...

That is just a messed up law!! Gonna be more of a headache than anything....