Proposed Rules ArchivesCrRLJ 6.13 - Evidence
Suggested Change to CrRLJ 6.13 (EVIDENCE)
Purpose: The suggested changes to CrRLJ 6.13 result from the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, decided June 25, 2009 (__US__, 129 S.Ct. 2527; a copy of the decision is enclosed.) In Melendez-Diaz, the Court expanded its holding in Crawford v. Washington, 541 US 36 (2004) and held that lab test reports prepared for the purposes of trial are testimonial and admission of them violate a defendant’s right of confrontation. The Court further held that “notice-and-demand” statutes are constitutional. In jurisdictions with “notice and demand” procedures, the prosecuting authority provides notice to the defendant of its intent to use a report as evidence at trial. The defendant then has a period of time to object and demand that the analyst appear live and testify. If the defendant does not object, the witness does not need to appear and testify; instead, the certified report is admissible.
Melendez-Diaz has broad application in trial courts and impacts the system most greatly in Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) cases. In State v. Kirkpatrick, 160 Wn. 2d 873 (2007), the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the Department of Licensing (DOL) custodian of records declarations accompanying a driving record were not testimonial. The Melendez-Diaz case calls into question the Kirkpatrick analysis and conclusion. The suggested rule change will better allow the trial courts to manage their trial calendars and administer justice by adding a “notice and demand” procedure to CrRLJ 6.13 to govern the admissibility of certified reports from DOL custodians of record.
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