Virginia Forensics Experts Facing More Court Appearances | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Virginia Forensics Experts Facing More Court Appearances

Play associated audio

A 2009 Supreme Court decision is forcing technicians in Virginia's forensic lab to perform drug tests and show up in court to testify about the results. Now, the state is trying to help the techs keep up with demand, because they don't expect the pace to slack off anytime soon. 

In Melendez-Diaz vs. Massachusetts, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it violates citizens' Sixth Amendment rights to present forensic test results in court without providing the opportunity for the defendant to confront the person that performed the tests. 

So examiners must now testify when subpoenaed in lieu of merely relying on test results. And that takes time, says Virginia Chemistry Program Manager Linda Jackson.

"It certainly has increased about 10 times the amount of hours out of the laboratory which, obviously, does take away from time where an analyst can actually be analyzing cases," Jackson says. At the same time, state labs' drug case workloads have grown significantly, 

In order to lighten that load, video testimony can be used in some courts. In others, the courts designate DUI days on which all the related cases are scheduled together to reduce the time impact for toxicology staff

NPR

Not My Job: 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner Gets Quizzed On Glad Men

The final season of Mad Men is about to begin, so we've decided to ask the show's creator about men who are glad rather than mad — success coaches, motivational speakers and happiness gurus.
NPR

Making Cheese In The Land Of The Bible: Add Myrrh And A Leap Of Faith

Spring in the West Bank means Bedouin herders' ewes and nanny goats are full of milk — and cheese making abounds. The traditional method relies on a few simple ingredients and a long cultural memory.
NPR

Nigerian President Faces Tough Reelection Campaign

Nigerians head to the polls Saturday to vote for their new president. The incumbent Goodluck Jonathan faces former military leader, Muhammadu Buhari, who says he's tough on security and corruption.
NPR

App That Aims To Make Books 'Squeaky Clean' Draws Ire From Edited Writers

Clean Reader — an app designed to find, block and replace profanity in books — has drawn considerable criticism from authors. This week, makers of the app announced they would no longer sell e-books.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.