Civitas recently asked the question “2,822 hours of Crime Analysts time is spent on what?” The 2,822 hours were spent on being in the court system to testify because of a Supreme Court ruling in which the high court held that it was a violation of the Sixth Amendment right of confrontation for a prosecutor to submit a chemical drug test report without the in-person testimony of the person who performed the test.
The North CarolinaHouse Committee on Judicial Efficiency and Effective Administration of Justice met last week and proposed recommendations for the upcoming short session and one recommendation was to help state crime analysts.
The Committee finds that the General Assembly should create a “notice and
demand” statute for remote testimony by lab analysts in criminal cases, which
provides that a lab analyst does not have to be physically present in the courtroom
and may testify remotely if the State provides notice to the defendant that the
State plans to have the lab analyst testify via video conferencing and the
defendant does not make a timely objection. The General Assembly should
provide an appropriation in an amount sufficient to provide the necessary
equipment to at least three judicial districts for pilot projects to test the use of
remote testimony pursuant to the “notice and demand” statute.
While this may not solve the entire problem, it may decrease the 2,822 hours that analysts spent in one year testifying, or preparing or traveling to testify, rather than doing their main work: analyzing evidence to help convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent.