U.S. Supreme Court Ends Confrontation Clause Challenge – Upholds Forensic Expert Ruling in Melendez-Diaz case.
During oral arguments Jan. 11 in Briscoe v. Virginia, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spent considerable time defending the precedent at issue, Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, in which he wrote the majority opinion That was the Confrontation Clause decision finding that forensic evidence needed to be presented in person, not by affidavit, so it could be tested in cross-examination.
Melendez-Diaz was decided just last June, so some wondered why the Court would review such a similar case. On Monday Jan. 25, 2010, the Court decided to leave well enough alone and leave the precedent untouched. The Court sent the Briscoe case back to Virginia courts for reassessment under the Melendez-Diaz case, which it could have done without hearing arguments in the first place.