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 here.


Continue Reading BAC Report Not Admissible Without Live Lab Analyst – This Changes Everything For DUI Cases

 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

Continue Reading Restitution Hearing After Sentencing Not Required

 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

Continue Reading Can My Car Be Stopped Based On An Anonymous Tip?

 A recent Idaho Court of Appeals decision follows recent United States Supreme Court precedent, allowing a search of a car incident to arrest, even if the defendant is in custody at the time of the search, and unable to reach into the vehicle at the time of the search. The Idaho case is State v. Cantrell, decided by Judge

Continue Reading Idaho Court of Appeals Upholds Warrantless Search of Car – Just Like The United States Supreme Court Did

 The Idaho Supreme Court decided an interesting case in which the Boy Scouts of America sought to dismiss a case brought by sex abuse victims who had not proceeded with their cases until they were adults. Generally, Idaho civil law contains a statute of limitations that ends liability for civil cases after some number of years. For example – if

Continue Reading Idaho’s Civil Action For Victims Of Sexual Abuse Not Applied Retroactively

The problem with over generalizations is – they are in fact over generalizations! Guilty. I may have suggested recently that your likelihood of getting relief on appeal is about the same as coming up with a perpetual motion machine; or a little less than winning that $200 million Power Ball; or swimming from Los Angeles to San Diego – even

Continue Reading Did I say the Idaho Supreme Court never grants relief? Say it ain’t so!

I had the call again this week: "I did not do anything wrong. Do you think it is ok if I talk to the police? Because – actually – I already talked to them and now they tell me they know what I did. I didn’t do anything!" 

Yes you did. You talked to the police. You thought that they

Continue Reading Never Talk To The Police. I Mean It – NEVER! (OK – if your son or daughter is a cop and it is Christmas … maybe)

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

Continue Reading Three Truths About Criminal Trials – And Maurice Troutman Gets Another Chance

 In a decision handed down on December 30, the Idaho Court of Appeals vacated a conviction for robbery in State vs Faron Hawkins because the district judge did not sua sponte (on his own without a motion from the defendant) order a mental health evaluation during the trial of the case. Hawkins had contacted an FBI agent concerning his fear for

Continue Reading Idaho Appellate Court Says Judge Had Duty To Order Mental Evaluation