Court hears arguments in confrontation case

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Supreme Court heard arguments today in a case that asks whether the defendant had the right to confront the lab technician who performed the DNA testing relevant to the case.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Richard Pendergrass' child molesting convictions in Richard Pendergrass v. State, 71S03-0808-CR-445.

One of the core issues of this case is whether the lab technician's supervisor, Lisa Black, who testified on behalf of the technician at trial, had firsthand knowledge of the procedures and information the technician used to analyze the DNA samples. Another is whether Black's testimony could be considered expert testimony.

Deputy Attorney General J.T. Whitehead argued that Black had firsthand knowledge in the case and she was qualified to testify on behalf the technician. Pendergrass' attorney, Jeffrey Kimmell, argued Black could only testify about the technician's character and how tests are typically performed, but not about the DNA test conducted for Pendergrass.

Justice Theodore Boehm questioned Kimmell as to why the technician wasn't subpoenaed to testify, and Kimmell answered that it wasn't the defendant's burden to subpoena witnesses to testify against him.

Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard said expert testimony is often admitted, citing accident reconstruction and blood-testing procedures. He asked Kimmell whether in addition to the expert witness testifying about an accident based on data collected at the scene, if the person who measured the skid marks on the road also had to be in court.

Also coming up during arguments was whether the test results were considered a business record, if the test could be considered ex parte, and if the tests were testimonial or non-testimonial.

The arguments can be found online on the Supreme Court's Web site.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. This state's high court has spoken, the fair question is answered. Years ago the Seventh Circuit footnoted the following in the context of court access: "[2] Dr. Bowman's report specifically stated that Brown "firmly believes he is obligated as a Christian to put obedience to God's laws above human laws." Dr. Bowman further noted that Brown expressed "devaluing attitudes towards pharmacological or psycho-therapeutic mental health treatment" and that he made "sarcastic remarks devaluing authority of all types, especially mental health authority and the abortion industry." 668 F.3d 437 (2012) SUCH acid testing of statist orthodoxy is just and meet in Indiana. SUCH INQUISITIONS have been green lighted. Christians and conservatives beware.

  2. It was all that kept us from tyranny. So sad that so few among the elite cared enough to guard the sacred trust. Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law. Sophocles No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. Theodore Roosevelt That was the ideal ... here is the Hoosier reality: The King can do no wrong. Legal maxim From the Latin 'Rex non potest peccare'. When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. Richard Nixon

  3. So men who think they are girls at heart can use the lady's potty? Usually the longer line is for the women's loo, so, the ladies may be the ones to experience temporary gender dysphoria, who knows? Is it ok to joke about his or is that hate? I may need a brainwash too, hey! I may just object to my own comment, later, if I get myself properly "oriented"

  4. Heritage, what Heritage? The New Age is dawning .... an experiment in disordered liberty and social fragmentation is upon us .... "Carmel City Council approved a human rights ordinance with a 4-3 vote Monday night after hearing about two hours of divided public testimony. The ordinance bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, among other traits. Council members Rick Sharp, Carol Schleif, Sue Finkam and Ron Carter voted in favor of it. The three council members opposing it—Luci Snyder, Kevin Rider and Eric Seidensticker—all said they were against any form of discrimination, but had issues with the wording and possible unintended consequences of the proposal." Kardashian is the new Black.

  5. Can anyone please tell me if anyone is appealing the law that certain sex offenders can't be on school property. How is somebody supposed to watch their children's sports games or graduations, this law needs revised such as sex offenders that are on school property must have another non-offender adult with them at all times while on school property. That they must go to the event and then leave directly afterwards. This is only going to hurt the children of the offenders and the father/ son mother/ daughter vice versa relationship. Please email me and let me know if there is a group that is appealing this for reasons other than voting and religion. Thank you.