Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Confrontation Clause and Blood Test Results

United States v. Brian K. Ellis, No. 05-3942 (August 22, 2006): Mr. Ellis was arrested on a DUI charge. He was taken to a hospital for blood and urine tests. At trial, the court admitted a hospital report that he tested positive for drugs. He argued that the admission of this report violated the Confrontation Clause, as interpreted in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004).

The Court acknowledged that this report was factually different from most business records. The author knew that the entrees she was making would or could become part of a litigated case. Yet it found that the report was no different from traditional business records.

So what’s next? Reports of DEA chemists that the seized materials are controlled substances? Reports of handwriting examiners? Reports of fingerprint examiners?