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Supreme Courtroom to listen to attraction over knowledgeable testimony in Yuma drug case

3 min read

The Supreme Courtroom will hear the attraction of an Arizona man
who stated his proper to confront his accuser was violated when the knowledgeable
witness who examined the medicine in his case was changed by one other

Jason Smith was convicted partly on the testimony of Greggory
Longoni, who testified utilizing studies filed by Elizabeth Rast, the
Arizona Division of Public Security forensic scientist who examined the
medicine in Smith’s case. Rast had left the division earlier than Smith’s case
got here to trial.

Courts in Arizona allowed Longoni’s testimony over Smith’s objection.
However different courts across the nation have interpreted Supreme Courtroom
rulings on the difficulty in a different way, a discrepancy that Smith’s attorneys
stated must be cleared up by the excessive courtroom.

Hari Santhanam, who’s representing Smith, stated the confrontation
clause within the Sixth Modification has at all times been “an space of regulation that the
Supreme Courtroom has struggled with.”

“A part of that’s the confusion, you recognize when you have got a cut up on the
Supreme Courtroom, it doesn’t set out any type of controlling precept for
the decrease courts to observe,” Santhanam stated. “It’s been an enormous mess
since 2012, and that is lastly a chance for the courtroom to type of
clear that up.”

The Supreme Courtroom stated on Friday that it will hear Smith’s case.

“By taking this case, the Supreme Courtroom hopefully is ready to specific a
definitive opinion on the regulation,” stated David Euchner with Arizona
Attorneys for Prison Justice, a company for protection attorneys.
Euchner stated the confrontation query “actually has been tough
for us in Arizona.”

The Arizona legal professional common’s workplace stated Monday that the workplace can not touch upon pending litigation.

The case started on the night of Dec. 10, 2019, when officers with
the Yuma County Narcotics Job Power confirmed as much as execute a search
warrant for Smith’s father’s property, the place they discovered a shed with an
“overwhelming odor of recent marijuana and burnt marijuana,” in response to
courtroom paperwork.

Smith and two others had been contained in the shed, the place officers stated they
discovered marijuana – together with practically 6 kilos on drying racks –
methamphetamine, a meth pipe, scales and different paraphernalia. Police
estimated the road worth of the marijuana at $50,000.

Smith claimed that he was not concerned in drug exercise, however was solely
on the property to take care of his ailing father, who subsequently died
earlier than the trial.

The state charged Smith with 5 felony counts, together with possession of paraphernalia and possession of medication on the market.

A jury convicted Smith in October 2021 of two counts of possession –
one among which the state subsequently dismissed – one depend of possession
of marijuana on the market and two counts of straightforward possession of
methamphetamine and narcotics. Smith was sentenced to 4 years in

The Arizona Courtroom of Appeals in July 2022 upheld the conviction,
saying Longoni was testifying on his opinion of Rast’s studies and never
appearing as a “mere conduit” for her opinion. Smith was capable of absolutely
cross-examine Longoni, the appellate courtroom stated, and will have referred to as
Rast to testify if he wished.

The Supreme Courtroom has not set a date for Smith’s case, however Santhanam
stated he’s “excited that this is a chance to lastly repair this space
of regulation and produce some readability to it.”

Euchner stated he additionally seems ahead to a ruling on the confrontation
query, since “49 different states I’m certain have struggled with it as

“Questions of confrontation of witnesses … doesn’t fall alongside the
conventional social gathering traces,” Euchner stated. “On this subject, the Supreme
Courtroom doesn’t vote on conventional liberal, conservative traces.”

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