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Court hears arguments in confrontation case

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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.

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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