During the ACS Supreme Court Preview, Professor Cynthia Jones of American University Washington College of Law highlighted the case, saying, “The Confrontation Clause and the rules on expert testimony clash in … Williams v. Illinois. That gives the Supreme Court an opportunity to tweak the Confrontation Clause analysis in light of its rules on expert evidence under rule 703.”
In a preview for SCOTUSblog, Supreme Court litigator Tom Goldstein gives context for the case, writing, “An expert testified about the results of a DNA test conducted by an analyst, but the DNA test was not admitted. The Supreme Court of Illinois held that there was no constitutional violation. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to resolve a conflict in the lower courts over the Confrontation Clause’s application in these circumstances.”
In a one-sentence per curiamopinion, the Supreme Court remanded a case involving the Sixth Amendment's confrontation clause to the Virginia Supreme Court. In Briscoe v. Virginia, the Court sent the case back to Virginia's high court "for further proceedings not inconsistent with the opinion in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts ...." In its 2009 Melendez-Diaz decision, the Supreme Court concluded that the Sixth Amendment affords criminal defendants the right to question lab analysts relied on by the prosecution. In Briscoe, a man was convicted on drug charge, though he was not able to question the analysts who prepared lab reports that maintained substance that was seized was cocaine.
The justices also added two more cases to its docket - Abbott v. United States and Chase Bank USA v. McCoy. Check out SCOTUSblog for more information about those cases.