The Champion

October 2011 , Page 22 

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A Post-Bullcoming World: Does Justice Sotomayor’s Concurrence Undermine The Majority Opinion?

By Justin J. McShane; Joshua R. Auriemma; Sebastian C. Watt

Forensic laboratory reports are often the crux of the prosecution’s drug and alcohol cases. The ability to challenge the reliability of these reports has been known to make or break a defense. On June 23, 2011, the Supreme Court held, in a 5-4 decision, that when the prosecution introduces forensic laboratory results at trial, the Constitution requires that the analyst who prepared the reports be made available for cross-examination at trial. Further, the Court explicitly held that the prosecution’s decision to call another analyst who was familiar with the laboratory protocols in general, but had no personal knowledge of the accused’s specific test, was insufficient to satisfy the requirements of the Confrontation Clause.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a short concurring opinion in Bullcoming v. New Mexico1 in an attempt to explain why she believed the majority’s holding was narrow. Specifically, Justice Sotomayor offered four hypothetical situations she believed were not governed by th

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