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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. Ah yes... Echoes of 1963 as a ghostly George Wallace makes his stand at the Schoolhouse door. We now know about the stand of personal belief over service to all constituents at the Carter County Clerk door. The results are the same, bigotry unable to follow the directions of the courts and the courts win. Interesting to watch the personal belief take a back seat rather than resign from a perception of local power to make the statement.

  2. An oath of office, does it override the conscience? That is the defense of overall soldier who violates higher laws, isnt it? "I was just following orders" and "I swore an oath of loyalty to der Fuhrer" etc. So this is an interesting case of swearing a false oath and then knowing that it was wrong and doing the right thing. Maybe they should chop her head off too like the "king's good servant-- but God's first" like St Thomas More. ...... We wont hold our breath waiting for the aclu or other "civil liberterians" to come to her defense since they are all arrayed on the gay side, to a man or should I say to a man and womyn?

  3. Perhaps we should also convene a panel of independent anthropological experts to study the issues surrounding this little-known branch of human sacrifice?

  4. I'm going to court the beginning of Oct. 2015 to establish visitation and request my daughters visits while she is in jail. I raised my grandchild for the first two and half years. She was born out of wedlock and the father and his adopted mother wantwd her aborted, they went as far as sueing my daughter for abortion money back 5mo. After my grandchild was born. Now because of depression and drug abuse my daughter lost custody 2 and a half years ago. Everyting went wrong in court when i went for custody my lawyer was thrown out and a replacment could only stay 45 min. The judge would not allow a postponement. So the father won. Now he is aleinating me and my daughter. No matter the amount of time spent getting help for my daughter and her doing better he runs her in the ground to the point of suicide because he wants her to be in a relationship with him. It is a sick game of using my grandchild as a pawn to make my daughter suffer for not wanting to be with him. I became the intervener in the case when my daughter first got into trouble. Because of this they gave me her visitation. Im hoping to get it again there is questions of abuse on his part and I want to make sure my grandchild is doing alright. I really dont understand how the parents have rights to walk in and do whatever they want when the refuse to stand up and raise the child at first . Why should it take two and a half years to decide you want to raise your child.The father used me so he could finish college get a job and stop paying support by getting custody. Support he was paying my daughter that I never saw.

  5. Pence said when he ordered the investigation that Indiana residents should be troubled by the allegations after the video went viral. Planned Parenthood has asked the government s top health scientists at the National Institutes of Health to convene a panel of independent experts to study the issues surrounding the little-known branch of medicine.

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