Jun 25, 2009 — Raleigh’s “conventional” accusers do not survive scrutiny. tor, fbi/hq/lab/lab2007/labannual07.pdf (as.
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1 (Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2008 Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as isbeing done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has beenprepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader. See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES Syllabus MELENDEZ-DIAZ v. MASSACHUSETTS CERTIORARI TO THE APPEALS COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS No. 07Œ591. Argued November 10, 2008ŠDecided June 25, 2009 At petitioner™s state-court drug trial, the prosecution introduced certifi-cates of state laboratory analysts stating that material seized by po-lice and connected to petitioner was cocaine of a certain quantity. As required by Massachusetts law, the certificates were sworn to beforea notary public and were submitted as prima facie evidence of whatthey asserted. Petitioner objected, asserting that Crawford v. Wash-ington, 541 U. S. 36, required the analysts to testify in person. Thetrial court disagreed, the certificates were admitted, and petitionerwas convicted. The Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed, rejecting petitioner™s claim that the certificates™ admission violated the Sixth Amendment. Held: The admission of the certificates violated petitioner™s SixthAmendment right to confront the witnesses against him. Pp. 3Œ23.(a) Under Crawford, a witness™s testimony against a defendant isinadmissible unless the witness appears at trial or, if the witness isunavailable, the defendant had a prior opportunity for cross-examination. 541 U. S., at 54. The certificates here are affidavits, which fall within the ﬁcore class of testimonial statementsﬂ covered by the Confrontation Clause, id., at 51. They asserted that the sub-stance found in petitioner™s possession was, as the prosecutionclaimed, cocaine of a certain weightŠthe precise testimony the ana-lysts would be expected to provide if called at trial. Not only were the certificates made, as Crawford required for testimonial statements,ﬁunder circumstances which would lead an objective witness rea-sonably to believe that the statement would be available for use at alater trial,ﬂ id., at 52, but under the relevant Massachusetts law their sole purpose was to provide prima facie evidence of the substance™s composition, quality, and net weight. Petitioner was entitled to ﬁbe confronted withﬂ the persons giving this testimony at trial. Id., at 54.
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2 MELENDEZ-DIAZ v. MASSACHUSETTS Syllabus Pp. 3Œ5.(b) The arguments advanced to avoid this rather straightforward application of Crawford are rejected. Respondent™s claim that theanalysts are not subject to confrontation because they are not ﬁaccu-satoryﬂ witnesses finds no support in the Sixth Amendment™s text orin this Court™s case law. The affiants™ testimonial statements were not ﬁnearly contemporaneousﬂ with their observations, nor, if they had been, would that fact alter the statements™ testimonial character. There is no support for the proposition that witnesses who testify re-garding facts other than those observed at the crime scene are ex-empt from confrontation. The absence of interrogation is irrelevant; a witness who volunteers his testimony is no less a witness for SixthAmendment purposes. The affidavits do not qualify as traditional of-ficial or business records. The argument that the analysts should notbe subject to confrontation because their statements result from neu-tral scientific testing is little more than an invitation to return to the since-overruled decision in Ohio v. Roberts, 448 U. S. 56, 66, which held that evidence with ﬁparticularized guarantees of trustworthi-nessﬂ was admissible without confrontation. Petitioner™s power tosubpoena the analysts is no substitute for the right of confrontation.Finally, the requirements of the Confrontation Clause may not be re-laxed because they make the prosecution™s task burdensome. In any event, the practice in many States already accords with today™s deci-sion, and the serious disruption predicted by respondent and the dis-sent has not materialized. Pp. 5Œ23. 69 Mass. App. 1114, 870 N. E. 2d 676, reversed and remanded. SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which STEVENS, SOUTER, THOMAS, and GINSBURG, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a concur-ring opinion. KENNEDY, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ROB-ERTS, C. J., and BREYER and ALITO, JJ., joined.
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_________________ _________________ 1 Cite as: 557 U. S. ____ (2009) Opinion of the Court NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in thepreliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are requested tonotify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Wash-ington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in orderthat corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES No. 07Œ591 LUIS E. MELENDEZ-DIAZ, PETITIONER v.MASSACHUSETTS ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE APPEALS COURT OFMASSACHUSETTS[June 25, 2009] JUSTICE SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court. The Massachusetts courts in this case admitted into evidence affidavits reporting the results of forensic analy-sis which showed that material seized by the police and connected to the defendant was cocaine. The questionpresented is whether those affidavits are ﬁtestimonial,ﬂ rendering the affiants ﬁwitnessesﬂ subject to the defen-dant™s right of confrontation under the Sixth Amendment. I In 2001, Boston police officers received a tip that a Kmart employee, Thomas Wright, was engaging in suspi-cious activity. The informant reported that Wright re-peatedly received phone calls at work, after each of which he would be picked up in front of the store by a blue sedan, and would return to the store a short time later. The police set up surveillance in the Kmart parking lot and witnessed this precise sequence of events. When Wright got out of the car upon his return, one of the officers de-tained and searched him, finding four clear white plasticbags containing a substance resembling cocaine. The officer then signaled other officers on the scene to arrest
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2 MELENDEZ-DIAZ v. MASSACHUSETTS Opinion of the Court the two men in the carŠone of whom was petitioner Luis Melendez-Diaz. The officers placed all three men in apolice cruiser.During the short drive to the police station, the officers observed their passengers fidgeting and making furtivemovements in the back of the car. After depositing the men at the station, they searched the police cruiser andfound a plastic bag containing 19 smaller plastic bags hidden in the partition between the front and back seats.They submitted the seized evidence to a state laboratoryrequired by law to conduct chemical analysis upon police request. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 111, §12 (West 2006). Melendez-Diaz was charged with distributing cocaineand with trafficking in cocaine in an amount between 14 and 28 grams. Ch. 94C, §§32A, 32E(b)(1). At trial, the prosecution placed into evidence the bags seized fromWright and from the police cruiser. It also submitted three ﬁcertificates of analysisﬂ showing the results of the forensic analysis performed on the seized substances. The certificates reported the weight of the seized bags andstated that the bags ﬁ[h]a[ve] been examined with the following results: The substance was found to contain: Cocaine.ﬂ App. to Pet. for Cert. 24a, 26a, 28a. The certifi-cates were sworn to before a notary public by analysts at the State Laboratory Institute of the Massachusetts De-partment of Public Health, as required under Massachu-setts law. Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 111, §13. Petitioner objected to the admission of the certificates,asserting that our Confrontation Clause decision in Craw-ford v. Washington, 541 U. S. 36 (2004), required theanalysts to testify in person. The objection was overruled,and the certificates were admitted pursuant to state lawas ﬁprima facie evidence of the composition, quality, andthe net weight of the narcotic . . . analyzed.ﬂ Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 111, §13. The jury found Melendez-Diaz guilty. He appealed,
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3 Cite as: 557 U. S. ____ (2009) Opinion of the Court contending, among other things, that admission of the certificates violated his Sixth Amendment right to beconfronted with the witnesses against him. The AppealsCourt of Massachusetts rejected the claim, affirmanceorder, 69 Mass. App. 1114, 870 N. E. 2d 676, 2007 WL 2189152, *4, n. 3 (July 31, 2007), relying on the Massa-chusetts Supreme Judicial Court™s decision in Common-wealth v. Verde, 444 Mass. 279, 283Œ285, 827 N. E. 2d 701, 705Œ706 (2005), which held that the authors of certificates of forensic analysis are not subject to confrontation under the Sixth Amendment. The Supreme Judicial Court de-nied review. 449 Mass. 1113, 874 N. E. 2d 407 (2007). We granted certiorari. 552 U. S. ___ (2008). II The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitu-tion, made applicable to the States via the FourteenthAmendment, Pointer v. Texas, 380 U. S. 400, 403 (1965), provides that ﬁ[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to be confronted with the wit-nesses against him.ﬂ In Crawford, after reviewing the Clause™s historical underpinnings, we held that it guaran-tees a defendant™s right to confront those ﬁwho ‚bear testi-mony™ﬂ against him. 541 U. S., at 51. A witness™s testi-mony against a defendant is thus inadmissible unless the witness appears at trial or, if the witness is unavailable, the defendant had a prior opportunity for cross-examination. Id., at 54. Our opinion described the class of testimonial state-ments covered by the Confrontation Clause as follows: ﬁVarious formulations of this core class of testimo-nial statements exist: ex parte in-court testimony orits functional equivalentŠthat is, material such as af-fidavits, custodial examinations, prior testimony that the defendant was unable to cross-examine, or similar pretrial statements that declarants would reasonably
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4 MELENDEZ-DIAZ v. MASSACHUSETTS Opinion of the Court expect to be used prosecutorially; extrajudicial state-ments . . . contained in formalized testimonial materi-als, such as affidavits, depositions, prior testimony, or confessions; statements that were made under cir-cumstances which would lead an objective witnessreasonably to believe that the statement would beavailable for use at a later trial.ﬂ Id., at 51Œ52 (inter-nal quotation marks and citations omitted). There is little doubt that the documents at issue in this case fall within the ﬁcore class of testimonial statementsﬂ thus described. Our description of that category mentions affidavits twice. See also White v. Illinois, 502 U. S. 346, 365 (1992) (THOMAS, J., concurring in part and concurringin judgment) (ﬁ[T]he Confrontation Clause is implicated by extrajudicial statements only insofar as they are contained in formalized testimonial materials, such as affidavits, depositions, prior testimony, or confessionsﬂ). The docu-ments at issue here, while denominated by Massachusettslaw ﬁcertificates,ﬂ are quite plainly affidavits: ﬁdeclara-tion[s] of facts written down and sworn to by the declarantbefore an officer authorized to administer oaths.ﬂ Black™s Law Dictionary 62 (8th ed. 2004). They are incontroverti-bly a ﬁ‚solemn declaration or affirmation made for the purpose of establishing or proving some fact.™ﬂ Crawford, supra, at 51 (quoting 2 N. Webster, An American Diction-ary of the English Language (1828)). The fact in questionis that the substance found in the possession of Melendez-Diaz and his codefendants was, as the prosecution claimed, cocaineŠthe precise testimony the analystswould be expected to provide if called at trial. The ﬁcertifi-catesﬂ are functionally identical to live, in-court testimony,doing ﬁprecisely what a witness does on direct examina-tion.ﬂ Davis v. Washington, 547 U. S. 813, 830 (2006) (emphasis deleted).Here, moreover, not only were the affidavits ﬁ‚made
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6 MELENDEZ-DIAZ v. MASSACHUSETTS Opinion of the Court analytic arguments in an effort to avoid this ratherstraightforward application of our holding in Crawford. Before addressing them, however, we must assure the reader of the falsity of the dissent™s opening alarum that we are ﬁsweep[ing] away an accepted rule governing the admission of scientific evidenceﬂ that has been ﬁestab-lished for at least 90 yearsﬂ and ﬁextends across at least 35States and six Federal Courts of Appeals.ﬂ Post, at 1 (opinion of KENNEDY, J.).The vast majority of the state-court cases the dissentcites in support of this claim come not from the last 90years, but from the last 30, and not surprisingly nearly all of them rely on our decision in Ohio v. Roberts, 448 U. S. 56 (1980), or its since-rejected theory that unconfronted testimony was admissible as long as it bore indicia of reliability, id., at 66. See post, at 30.2 As for the six Fed-eral Courts of Appeals cases cited by the dissent, five ofthem postdated and expressly relied on Roberts. See post,at 21Œ22. The sixth predated Roberts but relied entirely on the same erroneous theory. See Kay v. United States, 255 F. 2d 476, 480Œ481 (CA4 1958) (rejecting confronta-tion clause challenge ﬁwhere there is reasonable necessityfor [the evidence] and where . . . the evidence has thosequalities of reliability and trustworthinessﬂ). A review of cases that predate the Roberts era yields a mixed picture. As the dissent notes, three state supreme court decisions from the early 20th century denied con-frontation with respect to certificates of analysis regarding a substance™s alcohol content. See post, at 21 (citing cases ŠŠŠŠŠŠ 2The exception is a single pre-Roberts case that relied on longstand-ing Massachusetts precedent. See Commonwealth v. Harvard, 356 Mass. 452, 462, 253 N. E. 2d 346, 352 (1969). Others are simply irrele-vant, since they involved medical reports created for treatment pur-poses, which would not be testimonial under our decision today. See, e.g., Baber v. State, 775 So. 2d 258, 258Œ259 (Fla. 2000); State v. Gar-lick, 313 Md. 209, 223Œ225, 545 A. 2d 27, 34Œ35 (1998).
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7 Cite as: 557 U. S. ____ (2009) Opinion of the Court from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Virginia). But other state courts in the same era reached the oppositeconclusion. See Torres v. State, 18 S. W. 2d 179, 180 (Tex. Crim. App. 1929); Volrich v. State, No. 278, 1925 WL 2473 (Ohio App., Nov. 2, 1925). At least this much is entirely clear: In faithfully applying Crawford to the facts of this case, we are not overruling 90 years of settled jurispru-dence. It is the dissent that seeks to overturn precedent by resurrecting Roberts a mere five years after it wasrejected in Crawford. We turn now to the various legal arguments raised byrespondent and the dissent. A Respondent first argues that the analysts are not sub-ject to confrontation because they are not ﬁaccusatoryﬂwitnesses, in that they do not directly accuse petitioner of wrongdoing; rather, their testimony is inculpatory onlywhen taken together with other evidence linking peti-tioner to the contraband. See Brief for Respondent 10.This finds no support in the text of the Sixth Amendment or in our case law. The Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant the rightﬁto be confronted with the witnesses against him.ﬂ (Em-phasis added.) To the extent the analysts were witnesses(a question resolved above), they certainly provided testi-mony against petitioner, proving one fact necessary for his convictionŠthat the substance he possessed was cocaine. The contrast between the text of the Confrontation Clause and the text of the adjacent Compulsory Process Clause confirms this analysis. While the Confrontation Clause guarantees a defendant the right to be confronted with the witnesses ﬁagainst him,ﬂ the Compulsory Process Clauseguarantees a defendant the right to call witnesses ﬁin hisfavor.ﬂ U. S. Const., Amdt. 6. The text of the Amendment contemplates two classes of witnessesŠthose against the
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8 MELENDEZ-DIAZ v. MASSACHUSETTS Opinion of the Court defendant and those in his favor. The prosecution must produce the former;3 the defendant may call the latter. Contrary to respondent™s assertion, there is not a third category of witnesses, helpful to the prosecution, butsomehow immune from confrontation. It is often, indeed perhaps usually, the case that an adverse witness™s testimony, taken alone, will not sufficeto convict. Yet respondent fails to cite a single case inwhich such testimony was admitted absent a defendant™s opportunity to cross-examine.4 Unsurprisingly, since sucha holding would be contrary to longstanding case law. In Kirby v. United States, 174 U. S. 47 (1899), the Court considered Kirby™s conviction for receiving stolen property, the evidence for which consisted, in part, of the records of conviction of three individuals who were found guilty of stealing the relevant property. Id., at 53. Though thisevidence proved only that the property was stolen, and not that Kirby received it, the Court nevertheless ruled thatadmission of the records violated Kirby™s rights under the Confrontation Clause. Id., at 55. See also King v. Turner, 1 Mood. 347, 168 Eng. Rep. 1298 (1832) (confession by one defendant to having stolen certain goods could not be used ŠŠŠŠŠŠ 3The right to confrontation may, of course, be waived, including byfailure to object to the offending evidence; and States may adopt proce-dural rules governing the exercise of such objections. See infra, at 21. 4Respondent cites our decision in Gray v. Maryland, 523 U. S. 185 (1998). That case did indeed distinguish between evidence that is ﬁincriminating on its faceﬂ and evidence that ﬁbec[omes] incriminating. . . only when linked with evidence introduced later at trial, ﬂ id., at 191 (internal quotation marks omitted). But it did so for the entirelydifferent purpose of determining when a nontestifying codefendant™sconfession, redacted to remove all mention of the defendant, could be admitted into evidence with instruction for the jury not to consider the confession as evidence against the nonconfessor. The very premise ofthe case was that, without the limiting instruction even admission of aredacted confession containing evidence of the latter sort would have violated the defendant™s Sixth Amendment rights. See id., at 190Œ191.
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9 Cite as: 557 U. S. ____ (2009) Opinion of the Court as evidence against another defendant accused of receiv-ing the stolen property). B Respondent and the dissent argue that the analysts should not be subject to confrontation because they are not ﬁconventionalﬂ (or ﬁtypicalﬂ or ﬁordinaryﬂ) witnesses of thesort whose ex parte testimony was most notoriously used at the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh. Post, at 15Œ16; Brief for Respondent 28. It is true, as the Court recognized in Crawford, that ex parte examinations of the sort used at Raleigh™s trial have ﬁlong been thought a paradigmatic confrontation violation.ﬂ 541 U. S., at 52. But the para-digmatic case identifies the core of the right to confronta-tion, not its limits. The right to confrontation was notinvented in response to the use of the ex parte examina-tions in Raleigh™s Case, 2 How. St. Tr. 1 (1603). That use provoked such an outcry precisely because it flouted thedeeply rooted common-law tradition ﬁof live testimony incourt subject to adversarial testing.ﬂ Crawford, supra, at 43 (citing 3 W. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws ofEngland 373Œ374 (1768)). See also Crawford, supra, at 43Œ47. In any case, the purported distinctions respondent andthe dissent identify between this case and Sir WalterRaleigh™s ﬁconventionalﬂ accusers do not survive scrutiny.The dissent first contends that a ﬁconventional witness recalls events observed in the past, while an analyst™sreport contains near-contemporaneous observations of thetest.ﬂ Post, at 16Œ17. It is doubtful that the analyst™s reports in this case could be characterized as reporting ﬁnear-contemporaneous observationsﬂ; the affidavits werecompleted almost a week after the tests were performed.See App. to Pet. for Cert. 24aŒ29a (the tests were per-formed on November 28, 2001, and the affidavits sworn on December 4, 2001). But regardless, the dissent misunder-
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