The U.S. Supreme Court case of Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts was one of the bigger criminal cases of the previous decade in establishing that laboratory experts generally must testify in person rather than by affidavit.
But what happened to Luis Melendez-Diaz, the defendant in that case? His case was remanded, and he was tried last week in Suffolk Superior Court. A jury acquitted him.
According to The Boston Globe, Melendez-Diaz was one of three men arrested and placed in the back of a police cruiser in 2001. Police officers noticed them fidgeting and found 19 small plastic bags of cocaine.
This time, prosecutors called a chemist to testify that the substance police found in the bags was cocaine.
The article suggests that the prosecution had difficulty in proving which of the three suspects actually possessed the cocaine. The lapse of 10 years between alleged offense and trial didn’t make the case any easier, a prosecutor noted.
Before you get too worked up about the injustice visited upon poor Luis, you should know that he is serving 10 years on another drug trafficking charge.
By Alan Cooper