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The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts heralds a dramatic change for Confrontation Clause jurisprudence and for most criminal trials. Crawford v. Washington held that “testimonial” statements were admissible only if the accused had a prior opportunity to cross-examine the witness. Melendez-Diaz applied this rule to forensic evidence, holding that certificates of analysis – used in a drug trail to prove the nature and weight of the proscribed substances, and sworn to and signed by the analysts who performed the tests – are testimonial.

This article analyzes Melendez-Diaz’s implications for the Court’s Confrontation Clause jurisprudence and for the criminal justice system. In Part II, Stevens focuses on doctrine, analyzing the decision and exploring what the dueling opinions tell us about the meaning of the Confrontation Clause and the future of Crawford. Stevens concludes her analysis by discussing the decision’s real-world impact, outlining its costs and benefits as predicted by the majority and dissent, and explaining why neither opinion gets its cost-benefit analysis quite right.