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Court Rejects Applying Drug Ruling Retroactively

This article is more than 11 years old.

A Massachusetts man whose case led to a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that criminal defendants have a right to cross-examine forensic analysts who prepare lab reports on illegal drugs has lost a bid to apply that ruling to an earlier drug conviction.

In 2009, Luis Melendez-Diaz challenged a lab report that confirmed cocaine was in plastic bags found in a car he was riding in. The U.S. Supreme Court held that rather than accept the report, Melendez-Diaz should be allowed to cross-examine the lab analyst.

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled he is not entitled to a new trial in a separate 2005 drug case. The state court found that because that drug conviction became final before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, Melendez-Diaz cannot use the 2009 ruling retroactively.

This program aired on July 26, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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