Tim O'Toole Quoted in U.S. Law Week Regarding Melendez-Diaz Decision

“Accused Has Right to Cross-Examine Analysts Behind Forensic Lab Reports”
U.S. Law Week
06.30.09Tim O'Toole comments on Supreme Court's decision in Melendez-Diaz, in which it ruled that defendants have a right to cross-examine the analysts who conduct and report on forensic laboratory tests. O'Toole agreed with the court's prediction that the ruling will not lead to a surge in defense demands for the live testimony of forensic analysts. “The last thing in the world defense attorneys would want is a live witness in front of a jury if he's going to say credible, solid, unimpeachable, bad things about their client. On the flip side,” O'Toole continued, a recent National Research Council report indicates that “there has been a big problem with forensic evidence coming into courtrooms and being relied upon by juries even though there's no science” backing up the forensic evidence. “It may well be that there will be an increase in some instances of defense lawyers' taking on bad forensic evidence when they otherwise might not have done so, but it's hard to say that this is a bad result for the system because—to the extent that there wasn't enough confrontation going on before and there were bad things happening in the system—the Supreme Court's ruling has changed this,” O'Toole said.
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