The Supreme Court has dismissed a pending challenge to its ruling last year requiring lab technicians and other forensic specialists to be available to testify at trials, reports the Los Angeles Times. In last year’s 5-4 decision, the court said the experts who prepare lab reports are “witnesses” for the prosecution and therefore must be prepared to be cross-examined by the lawyer for the accused.
The four dissenters said the decision would be an expensive headache for prosecutors nationwide. Earlier this month, the justices heard arguments in a Virginia case where prosecutors urged the high court to reverse its ruling. The retirement of Justice David H. Souter, who had joined the 5-4 majority, and his replacement by Justice Sonia Sotomayor led to speculation that the court might take the usual step of reversing a recent ruling. But the justices yesterday sent the Virginia case back to a state court.