CAAF Demands Heightened Evidentiary Standard Post Melendez-Diaz

CAAF Demands Heightened Evidentiary Standard Post Melendez-Diaz

Prosecutors will face a stricter evidentiary standard in Article 112a cases. Since the Supreme Court ruled on Melendez-Diaz in 2008, trial courts have held that drug analysis reports are a form of testimonial speech made by the analysts who perform the tests. This speech falls under the breadth of the 6th Amendment's Confrontation Clause, requiring that the accused be given the opportunity to cross examine the witness providing the testimony.

On 1 December 2010, in United States v. Blazier(II), the CAAF concluded that prosecutors must provide the analysts who conducted the drug tests if they wish to use machine-generated drug lab reports as evidence; by calling analysts to testify, the prosecution would comport with the accused's Constitutional right to cross-examine his accuser. The court conceded that machine-generated data is not, in and of it itself, testimonial, and experts may rely on them to form their own opinions. They may not, however, merely restate the results of the data, holding to do so would be testimonial hearsay. The judge, acting as the gatekeeper, must police the fine line between the expert's hearsay testimony of analysts who performed the drug testing, and the expert's testimony as to the nature of the drug testing and independent conclusions.

If you are facing a Courts Martial or need assistance with a clemency request, contact military criminal attorney Brent Dishman to discuss your case.

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