New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement’s Fall 2009 Symposium

On November 13, 2009, the New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement co-sponsored its annual symposium with the Flaschner Judicial Institute, entitled “Confronting Forensic Evidence: Implications of Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts and Briscoe v. Virginia.” The symposium’s prestigious and enthusiastic speakers drew more than 225 attendees including attorneys, judges, academics, and law students from throughout the greater Boston legal community.

The symposium has contributed to the national discussion of these cases, as evidenced by reference to it in a January 19, 2010, New York Times article, “Justices Better at Precedent Than Prescience,” and an April 19, 2010, online article in the Harvard Law and Policy Review.

On January 25, 2010, the Supreme Court issued a one-sentence per curiam opinion that vacated the judgment of the Supreme Court of Virginia.  The case was remanded for further proceedings “not inconsistent with the opinion in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts.

The Journal’s symposium provided a forum for discussion of the evolving procedures for the admission of forensic evidence in criminal trials, with particular focus on the findings of the recent report by the National Academy of Sciences. The speakers also addressed the practical implications facing prosecutors, defense attorneys, and the forensic science community.