Stuart v. Alabama - Dissent of Denial of Certiorari

Vanessa Stuart is a woman who was charged with operating under the influence of intoxicating liquor in Alabama. Ms. Stuart's blood to test her blood-alcohol level was taken for forensic evidence hours after her arrest. For an expert witness, the State did not use an analyst who administered the blood test but instead utilized a different analyst. This analyst presented to the jury an estimate of what Ms. Stuart's blood alcohol content would most likely be at the time of her arrest, since her blood was taken hours later. The dissenting Judges believe that by doing this, Ms. Stuart was never able to confront the analyst who originally administered the test, which effected the cross-examination of the analyst who did testify. Additionally, Ms. Stuart's Sixth Amendment right was violated. The State relied on the decision in made in Williams v. Illinois as a defense that they were allowed to introduce this forensic report of Ms. Stuart's blood-alcohol test without the analyst present. The State also argues that the forensic report was solely used as a basis for the estimation of Ms. Stuart's blood-alcohol level while she was driving and that the State did not use the report to argue the truth of the report. However, the dissenting Judges argue that clearly the prosecutor was using the report to prove the truth of Ms. Stuart's blood-alcohol level since the report was used as a basis to present an estimation of Ms. Stuart's blood-alcohol level at the time of her arrest to the jury. To read more about this dissent, please click here.