Sunday, December 20, 2009

Melendez-Diaz revisited, in a hurry

The Supreme Court will hear argument in Briscoe v. Virginia on January 11, 2010, a case revisiting the need for live testimony when introducing lab reports established by Melendez-Diaz. Prof. Richard Friedman, who writes the Confrontation Blog will argue for the defense. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer's amicus brief was co-authored by a Washington PDS lawyer and Jeffrey Fisher, who argued Melendez-Diaz and Crawford v. Washington and in the "our rock stars are different than your rock stars" vein, is probably the Mick Jagger of appellate advocacy.

So what's the difference between the ink-barely-dry Melendez-Diaz and Briscoe? Justice Sotomayor, for one. There are other differences, but that may be the one that counts. As the New York Times points out here, we'll soon find out what Justice Sotomayor thinks about the right to confrontation.

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