Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court established new law regarding the confrontation clause of the United States Constitution. This is an expansion of the Crawford case handed down in 2004.
The High Court ruled that the Crawford (right to confront a witness) issue may be able to be applied retroactively. This is particularly important in drunk driving cases. Many states including New Jersey would admit into evidence the report or affidavit from a scientist or doctor who drew or tested the blood of a defendant suspected of drunk driving. Now under the new (semi-new) Crawford doctrine, a defendant has the right to “confront” or cross-examine these doctors or scientists or others as the case may be.
This new case from the U.S. Supreme Court states that the “right to confront” may be applied retroactively, and it is up to the individual states to decide if they will permit retroactive application. This would come in the form of a Post-Conviction Relief Petition.
If NJ applies this rule retroactively, it may only be available for people who actually asserted the right to confront or at least had a trial. This is yet to be determined by NJ courts. We will keep you posted.
See Danforth v. Minnesota here: Danforth v. Minnesota.pdf
The author of this Law Blog, Bucks County PA & Mercer County, NJ criminal attorney, Michael L. Saile, Jr., Esq. of Cordisco & Saile LLC, Attorneys-at-Law practices both New Jersey and Pennsylvania criminal, traffic violations, and DUI/DWI/DAI law. Check out our website for DUI penalties. We handle all NJ Municipal Court cases including DUI in the following NJ Municipal Courts: Hopewell Township, Ewing Township, Trenton, Lawrence Township, Hamilton, Pennington, and other Mercer County, Burlington County, and Camden County, NJ courts. We also handle lower bucks county DUI and traffic violation cases in the following towns: Bensalem, Southampton, Richboro, Newtown, Levittown, Langhorne, Doylestown, Warminster, Trevose, Feasterville, Warrington, Bristol, Fallsington, Yardley, New Hope, Holland, Washington Crossing, PA, and other Bucks County courts. We handle DUI cases in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery County, PA. We are located just outside of Philadelphia in lower Bucks County.