BAC, blood alcohol content, Blood Draw, dui, gas chromatograph, Melendez-Diaz

Supreme Court to Review DUI Blood Case

Blood Draw Gas Chromatograph
In Bullcoming v. New Mexico, 09-10876 The United States Supreme Court has agreed to review the Constitutional right to confront witnesses in Driving Under the Influence Blood Draw Cases. The Issue will be Whether it violates the Constitution’s right to confront witnesses against the accused for a trial judge to admit the testimony of a crime lab supervisor to discuss a forensic test that the supervisor did not personally conduct or observe. The issue arises in a case involving a blood test as evidence in a drunk-driving case. 

The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Recently, in the DUI context, the admission of a laboratory report showing blood alcohol content (BAC) results from a gas chromatograph machine did not violate the defendant’s confrontation rights even though the analyst who prepared the report was not present at trial. The New Mexico Court found the lab tech author of the report was a “mere scrivener” and that the defendant’s true “accuser” was the gas chromatograph machine which detected the presence of alcohol in the defendant’s blood, assessed the defendant’s BAC, and generated a computer print-out listing its results. Opinion below: State v. Bullcoming, 226 P.3d 1 (N.M. 2010).

In Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 557 U.S. __, 129 S. Ct. 2527, 2532-33 (2009), the United States Supreme Court held that the defendant’s confrontation rights were violated by the admission of affidavit reports/certificates of state laboratory forensic analysis results that the material seized by the police was cocaine of a certain quantity, because such evidence was “testimonial.”

This Tampa Florida DUI Attorney will be watching the result of this important case.