NACDL - Bullcoming v. New Mexico

Bullcoming v. New Mexico

Amicus curiae brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association in support of petitioner.

Brief filed: 12/06/2010

Documents

Bullcoming v. New Mexico

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 09-10876

Prior Decision

Decision below 226 P.3d 1 (N.M. 2010).

Argument

At the petitioner’s trial for driving while intoxicated, the prosecution called an analyst who took no part in the testing of petitioner’s blood for alcohol content; the New Mexico Supreme Court held that blood alcohol analysis was a simple test in which the presence of the actual analyst was not necessary to interpret the results. This often-technical brief argues that blood alcohol testing using gas chromatography (GC) for analyzing blood alcohol involves exercise of the analyst’s judgment in interpreting results that presents a risk of error that can be discovered only through cross-examination of the analyst who ran the test; a proper cross-examination would include questions that only the actual analyst could answer.

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Author(s)

Barbara E. Bergman, Univ. of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, et al.