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Name: People v. Bowman
Case #: F058082
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/23/2010
Summary

The holding in People v. Geier (2007) 41 Cal.4th 555, that an in-court witness may rely on laboratory notes and reports prepared by another to support the witness’ expert opinion was not abrogated by Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts (2009) 557 U.S. __ [129 S.Ct. 2527]. Appellant was charged with transportation of methamphetamine. At trial, the court permitted the supervisor of the analyst who actually completed the analysis of the controlled substance to testify that she had evaluated the notes and test results and determined that they supported her conclusion that the substance was methamphetamine. The report was not entered as evidence. On appeal, the court, relying on People v. Geier, found no error. It explained that in Geier, there was no Sixth Amendment violation of the right to confrontation because the in-court witness relied on laboratory notes and reports to support an expert opinion that she was qualified by training and experience to give. Melendez-Diaz, on the other hand, dealt with the admissibility of a written document, defined as testimonial, that was not subject to cross-examination concerning either expert qualifications or analytical conclusions, the “witnesses” who completed the affidavits not testifying.