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Name: Meras v. Attorney General of California
Case #: 09-15399
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 04/23/2012

Under AEDPA, in addressing a claimed violation of the Confrontation Clause, “clearly established Federal law” includes only Supreme Court decisions as of the last state court adjudication on the merits of the claim. At trial that ended in a hung jury, the criminalist who performed DNA analysis testified. At the second trial, the criminalist was unavailable and, over appellant’s Confrontation Clause objection, her supervisor testified to the contents of the report. The jury convicted appellant and he appealed the Confrontation Clause ruling. The California appellate court affirmed in a reasoned decision and the California Supreme Court summarily denied review. Appellant did not file for certiorari but did file a timely federal habeas petition that was denied. The appellate court affirmed the denial, reasoning that at the time of the state adjudication, the clearly established law, as set forth in Crawford v. Washington (2004) 541 U.S. 36, did not contradict the state’s ruling that the lab report was not “testimonial.” Although Supreme Court decisions subsequently invalidated this holding (Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts (2009) 129 S.Ct. 2527 and Bullcoming v. New Mexico (2011) 131 S.Ct. 2705), appellant was held to the clearly established law as of the time the state court rendered its decision.