Bullcoming v. New Mexico
Disclosure: Goldstein, Howe & Russell P.C. represents the petitioner in this case.
Holding: The Confrontation Clause does not permit the prosecution to introduce a forensic lab report containing a testimonial certification through the in-court testimony of an analyst who did not sign the document or personally observe the test. If an out-of-court statement is testimonial, it may not be introduced against the accused at trial unless the witness who made the statement is unavailable and the accused has had a prior opportunity to confront that witness.
Judgment: Reversed and remanded, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on June 23, 2011. Justice Scalia joined Justice Ginsburg's opinion in full. Justices Sotomayor and Kagan joined all of the opinion except Part IV, while Justice Thomas joined all of the opinion except Part IV and footnote 6. Justice Sotomayor also filed a separate opinion concurring in part. Justice Kennedy filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Breyer and Alito.
- This week at the Court in Plain English (Lisa Tucker, June 24, 2011)
- Opinion analysis: New curb on crime lab reports (Lyle Denniston, June 23, 2011)
- Argument recap: Scalia for the defense (Lyle Denniston, March 2, 2011)
- Argument preview: Is a "stand-in" witness OK? (Lyle Denniston, February 28, 2011)
- A review of "state secrets" (Lyle Denniston, September 28, 2010)
Briefs and Documents
- Brief for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National College for DUI Defense, and the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association in Support of Petitioner
- Brief for the Innocence Network in Support of Petitioner
- Brief for Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, Alaska Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, Alameda Public Defender’s Office, County of Sacramento Office of the Public Defender, San Francisco Office of the Public Defender, and 20 other Defender Organizations in Support of Petitioner
- Brief for Richard D. Friedman in Support of Petitioner
- Brief for the States of California, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, District Of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming in Support of Respondent
- Brief for the National District Attorneys Association, California District Attorneys Association, American Society of Crime Lab Directors, California Association of Crime Laboratory Directors, International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners, the National Association of Medical Examiners, and the California State Coroners Association in Support of Respondent
- Brief for the State of Mexico Department of Health, Scientific Laboratory Division in Support of Respondent
- Brief for Law Professors in Support of Petitioner