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San Francisco DUI Lawyer: Case Law - Confrontation Cases

 Posted on August 03, 2012 in DUI

Derr v. State of Maryland , - A.3d - -, 2011 WL 4483937 (Md.)

While the defense bar anxiously awaits the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Williams v. Illinois , this Maryland appellate court determined that the Confrontation Clause is indeed violated under the same circumstances presented in Williams (an expert witness introducing and relying upon a non-testifying expert’s DNA analysis as a basis for his own conclusion).

"[B]ecause of the Confrontation Clause, an expert may not render as true the testimonial statements or opinions of others through his or her testimony. Although [a State rule of evidence] allows for an expert to base his or her opinion on inadmissible evidence, to the extent that [this rule] offends the Confrontation Clause, such testimony will not be admissible.

“Specifically, if the inadmissible evidence sought to be introduced is comprised of the conclusions of other analysts, then the Confrontation Clause prohibits the admission of such testimonial statements through the testimony of an expert who did not observe or participate in the testing. Conversely, if the evidence relied upon by an expert in his or her testimony assembles nontestimonial information from one or more sources, and then draws a conclusion based on that information, then the expert is not merely serving as a surrogate to convey the conclusions of other analysts, but rather, is forming and testifying as to the expert's own independent opinion."

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