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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

The use of scientific evidence in criminal prosecutions has increased dramatically in recent years. Much of this evidence, which is routinely admitted against criminal defendants, consists of analyses performed by forensic laboratories on substances identified with criminal activity. A recent report released by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, however, indicates a high incidence of error in forensic analyses conducted by police laboratories. In this Article, the author examines the implications that the LEAA report holds for the admissibility of forensic analyses against criminal defendants. The author concludes that the introduction against a defendant of evaluative laboratory reports without the opportunity to confront the one who conducted the test violates the constitutional requirement that prosecution hearsay evidence be reliable and proposes that courts frame a new constitutional exclusionary rule precluding the admission of such reports.

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