Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Criminal Justice

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 163 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

James R Acker

Committee Members

Allison Y Eastman, Allison D Redlich, Alissa P Worden


crime laboratories, forensic science testimony, judicial policy implementation, Forensic sciences, Criminal procedure, Examination of witnesses, Chemistry, Forensic, Evidence, Expert

Subject Categories



In Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts (2009), the United States Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment right to confront adverse witnesses includes the right to confront forensic analysts who produce affidavits certifying the results of forensic examinations used against defendants at trial. The decision thus invalidated the practice of substituting forensic laboratory reports for live testimony in criminal trials. Melendez-Diaz was a divided decision in which four dissenting Justices predicted onerous practical consequences for the practice of forensic science in the United States. Through a web-based survey and semi-structured interviews, this dissertation explored the practical impact of the decision on crime laboratories and how the decision was implemented. Overall, the findings suggest that the consequences of the decision for most of the laboratories in the study were not as great as anticipated by the dissent. Emergent themes and the practical and policy implications of the study are discussed.

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