As I have discussed in a number of prior posts [editor’s note: the most recent of those posts is here], the North Carolina courts have been struggling with whether the Confrontation Clause, as interpreted the Court in Crawford v. Washington and Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, allows for the use of substitute analysts. The petition for writ of certiorari in Pendergrass v. Indiana (No. 09-866) has been closely watched by those interested in this issue. That petition framed the question presented this way:
Whether the Confrontation Clause permits the prosecution to introduce testimonial statements of a nontestifying forensic analyst through the in-court testimony of a supervisor or other person who did not perform or observe the laboratory analysis described in the statements.
On June 14, 2010, the Court denied certiorari in Pendergrass (a link to the Court’s June 14th orders is here). Thus, no immediate guidance on the issue will be forthcoming from the Supreme Court.