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Showing posts from March, 2010

Admission of lab report: People v. Bowman

In this case, the California Court of Appeal held that the case Melendez-Diaz did not alter the California rule that an in-court witness may rely on laboratory notes and reports, even if prepared by a different individual, to support the witness's expert opinion.
Melendez-Diaz held that the admission of a written document to establish laboratory results violates the Sixth Amendment. (Melendez-Diaz, supra, 557 U.S. at p. ___ [129 S.Ct. at p. 2532].
However, the California Court of Appeal concluded that the scenario in Bowman - where a criminalist other than the one who did the testing - gave expert testimony on the chemical testing of the suspected methamphetamine -- does not violate a defendant's confrontation rights.

The case is: People v. Bowman, 10 CDOS 3656 (CA 5th).

U.S. Supreme Court Eases Rules for Miranda Warning

Last week, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Maryland v. Shatzer. Justice Scalia wrote the opinion, which six other Justices joined in full. Justice Thomas concurred in part and concurred in the judgment; Justice Stevens concurred in the judgment. The Court held that a fourteen-day break in custodial interrogation ends the Edwards v. Arizona rule which states that once a suspect invokes his Miranda rights, any subsequent waiver of the right triggered by a police request is deemed involuntary and is the result of coercion. In reversing the decision of the Maryland Court of Appeals, the Court concluded that Shatzer’s return to his normal pre-interrogation life in the general prison population for a period of two-and-one-half years before re-interrogation constituted a sufficient break in custody enable him to voluntarily waive his Miranda rights. Therefore, the Edwards case did not require that Shatzer’s re-interrogation statements be suppressed, and the Court remanded the case fo…