Supreme Court – Bullcoming Melendez-Diaz
The Supreme Court of the United States: Rulings for Forensic Science
Bullcoming vs. New Mexico
Melendez-Diaz v Massachusetts
Forensic DNA Experts now gives seminars to those law offices or attorneys that would like to understand these rulings from a forensic scientist’s perspective.
The Bullcoming ruling is an important one for the forensic sciences in the United States’ court system. It now clarifies the Melendez-Diaz ruling by specifying that a forensic report is testimony and therefore is subject to cross-examination. It now becomes impossible to simply admit a report into evidence and avoid cross-examination of the analyst who did the work.
There is still much work to be done by the individual states with regards to these ruling though. One military court has already allowed in forensic evidence when the analyst who did the work was unavailable. In at least this one case, the military court allowed a second analyst to evaluate the file, and independently evaluate the scientific DNA data and report his conclusions to the court over the objections of the defense.
These types of rulings may become commonplace, they may not. Individual state courts will have to weigh in and we may see this issue come before SCOTUS again in the near future.
The Bullcoming ruling was necessarily narrow, specifying that the report of the analyst could not be introduced without the analyst; however, it does spend some time also evaluating the importance of the role of the analyst who did the work, which is vital and seems contrary to the military court’s ruling.
The Supreme Court Justices are not scientists and while they seem to grasp the subject at hand they do not fully understand the complicated world of forensic science. It can well be argued that the specific wording of the ruling both allows and forbids these types of end-around maneuvers in different places of the Bullcoming ruling.
We believe that lawyers on both sides of the aisle will take full advantage of whichever aspect of the ruling seems to support their cause and different courts will inevitably rule on these inconsistencies differently. We further believe that it may take a scientist to unravel the mystery for our attorney friends so that they can understand what the justices did not and use this ruling to get a favorable decision in their case.
For a seminar on The Supreme Court ruling from a scientist’s perspective, please contact Forensic DNA Experts today.