June 21, 2005
Student attorneys from the Tulane Criminal Law Clinic are planning an appeal to the United States Supreme Court over a ruling that admitted a report into evidence without its author ever taking the stand.
The issue is of nationwide import since most states have enacted statutes that seek to conserve prosecution and police resources by keeping laboratory workers in the lab and out of the courtroom. In the Clinic's case, the State relied upon such a report to prove that the substance found in a a zip-lock baggie was marijuana. Based on that proof, the Defendant Robert Cunningham was convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession.
"The right to confront and cross-examine a witness devolves upon a criminal defendant the minute the state chooses to prosecute him," Tulane Criminal Law Clinic Director Pam Metzger told the New Orleans Times-Picayune in its June 21st edition.