In An Increasingly Technical Age, There Is Still No Substitute for Face-to-face Confrontation of Witnesses
Earlier this month, the New Mexico Court of Appeals clarified several issues regarding the 6th Amendment confrontation clause in State v. Patrice Chung. In New Mexico, a large number of criminal cases are dismissed for violations of the 6th Amendment confrontation clause.
The 6th Amendment of the US Constitution reads, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right ... to be confronted with the witnesses against him." The specific boundaries of this protection are continually being defined and clarified by the United States Supreme Court as well as New Mexico state courts.
In State v. Chung, the Defendant was charged with distribution of marijuana. Before trial, the State filed a motion to allow an analyst from the New Mexico Scientific Laboratories Division (SLD) to testify via video conference that the substance was indeed marijuana, an element that was necessary to the charge.