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Evidence Tampering and the Right to Confront Witnesses

By April 25, 2017 No Comments

A recent op-ed by Yale law professor Stephen L. Carter discusses the importance of the Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses in light of evidence tampering by forensic technicians. Carter shares the story of the recent “decision by Massachusetts prosecutors to vacate some 21,000 drug convictions,” tracing back to a chemist’s 2013 guilty plea to “27 counts of tampering with evidence, filing false reports and misleading investigators.” “[A]s the Dookhan scandal should remind us,” Carter says, “there are good reasons to have laboratory technicians come into court and defend their work. [Justice] Scalia was right: It’s what the Constitution requires.”