Virginia Holds Special Legislative Session to Respond to Court Ruling | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Virginia Holds Special Legislative Session to Respond to Court Ruling

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Virginia's General Assembly is gathering in Richmond today for a special session to work out a response to a recent U-S Supreme Court ruling.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that forensic examiners could be subpoenaed to testify in court. The reasoning was that the examiners in criminal cases were, essentially witnesses against a defendant, and the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to confront witnesses. In practice that has resulted in a spike in the time forensic examiners are having to spend in court. The number of subpoenas for examiners to appear in court in drug cases alone jumped from 43 in July of last year to 925 last month. It's feared that will result in backlogs at crime labs. Prosecutors in Virginia have had to drop or suspend some drug and drunken driving cases. Governor Kaine called for today's special legislative session so lawmakers could pass a law that will ease the impact of the ruling until they can explore a more permanent solution in the next regular session.

Sabri Ben-Achour reports...

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