In an odd combination of Justices, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the 6th Amendment right to cross-examine and confront witnesses against you includes the right to question the lab analyst who tested your breath for alcohol in a DUI case. Justices Ginsberg, Scalia, Sotomayor, Thomas and Kagan joined in the majority opinion in Bullcoming v. New Mexico, handed down yesterday.  Opting for efficiency over exercise of the right to cross-examine, Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Alito and Chief Justice Roberts thought a certified written report could be introduced by a technician familiar with the laboratory procedures. The result may turn the DUI business on it’s head.

The Court has now specifically ruled that merely calling that report "scientific" is not enough. This should signal the end of "the machine says he’s guilty, its on the print-put." Prosecutors will have to actually call THE lab analyst so he or she can be cross-examined. Isn’t that the way it should be if the State is trying to convict you of a crime that will leave you unable to drive and serving time?

Gotta go to the dentist so no more time to write about this, but you can read all about it at the examiner.com here.

 


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 A recent Idaho Court of Appeals decision addresses an issue often raised by clients facing a restitution order following conviction or entry of a plea of guilty to a crime. In State v. Blair, a woman who had been convicted of stealing money from her employer objected to the amount of restitution the court determined she owed. She


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 I am working on a case in which a private citizen reported to the police that his neighbor had been drinking, got in an argument and left in his car. The tipster reported that the neighbor was drunk and driving. He gave the likely direction of travel and type of car. Cops notified by dispatch saw a car that matched


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Reversing a conviction for rape this week, the Idaho Court of Appeals reminded all of us that the system works when the rules leveling the playing field are enforced. That applies to defense lawyers and prosecutors alike. As Judge Gutierrez noted: "While our system of criminal justice is adversarial in nature, and the prosecutor is expected to be diligent and leave


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