X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Drug Enforcement Administration chemists will be trekking from their lab in Largo, Md., to D.C. Superior Court more often after a Dec. 28 ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals, which found that a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses doesn’t exclude expert witnesses such as chemists. Under a 1981 D.C. law, the submission of a chemist’s report to verify a seized substance is an illicit drug at trial will no longer pass muster unless the defendant waives his confrontation-clause right, the ruling stated. Otherwise, the chemist will have to appear to testify. “I think this will properly pierce the presumption of infallibility with respect to this category of scientific evidence,” says D.C. Public Defender Service appellate attorney Andrea Roth, who filed an amicus brief with two colleagues. “I think it will lead to better science and better trials on both sides.” The three-judge panel based its new interpretation of the confrontation clause on the 2004 Supreme Court ruling in Crawford v. Washington, which limited the introduction of testimonial statements without producing the witness. The Court of Appeals affirmed the cocaine-distribution conviction of Michael Thomas in his appeal because his counsel did not raise a confrontation-clause objection at trial. Some defense attorneys, however, have raised those objections since Crawford, which now may result in other drug convictions being reversed for constitutional error. Attorney Edward Bunn represented Thomas on appeal. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has not yet decided whether to request an en banc hearing, says spokesman Channing Phillips
Brendan Smith can be contacted at [email protected].

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.