SCOTUS Holds that DWI Blood-Alcohol Tests Must Meet Melendez-Diaz Standard

SCOTUS Holds that DWI Blood-Alcohol Tests Must Meet Melendez-Diaz Standard

In Bullcoming v. New Mexico (2011) the defendant was accused of driving while intoxicated. The prosecution attempted to admit a blood alcohol report into evidence, without providing the accused with an opportunity to cross-examine the analyst who performed the test. Defense counsel objected to the introduction of the report on grounds that it was testimonial hearsay in violation of the Constitution's confrontation clause. The New Mexico court overruled this objection, citing the prosecution's presentation of an expert on chromatographs who testified to the report's authenticity as satisfying the confrontation clause.

The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that unless the witness who made the statement is unavailable and the accused has had a prior opportunity to confront that witness, the testimony may not be introduced. In the present case, the New Mexico court could not present the testimony of one expert to certify the testimonial statements of another expert who is not in the court room; in doing so, the Supreme Court found that the New Mexico court failed to satisfy the confrontation clause. The case was remanded for further trial proceedings.

If you are active military personnel and are facing criminal chages such as a DUI or drug crime, contact Dishman Military Advocates for assistance with your case.

Citation:

Bullcoming v. United States 131 S.Ct. 2705

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