The practical implications of the Melendez-Diaz Supreme Court decision on admission of forensic evidence in still working it’s way through New York criminal courts.In Melendez-Diaz, the US Supreme Court determine that documentation of forensic evidence must be supported by expert witness testimony to be admissable in court. The decsion is causing problems for criminal prosecutors nationwide since this requirement puts a significant burden states that typically have only a very limited number of forensic experts available to testify.
Since up until this decision, certified documentation for drug recognition and identification, and breathalyzer maintenance and operation logs have commonly been sufficient as admissible evidence on their own.
Now prosecutors will have to schedule these experts, and prepare them for trial in thousands of criminal cases. Thus far there hasn’t been a mad scramble by New York legislators to deal with this potential issue. In states like Virginia, legislators are actively working to refine a “notice and demand” requirement for the request of expert testimony, as a means to buy time and schedule these witnesses before judges start dismissing cases en masse due to insufficient evidence.
Albany Attorney Warren Redlich suggests that New York DWI lawyers should be prepared to argue Melendez-Diaz in DWI suppression hearings and at trial. How New York prosecutors respond to this is something we will be watching very closely.
If you are charged with a DWI in New York, or a drug case, please contact us for a consultation, and find out what we can do to help.