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Of Crawford, drugs, guns, and certificates of no record

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On March 12, 2009, the Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals reversed a drug felony conviction, after reaffirming that drug chemist reports are testimonial hearsay under Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004). Millard v; U.S., ___ A.2d __ (D.C., March 12, 2009). The appellate court also reversed Millard’s conviction for possessing a handgun, having found a real risk that the jury may have found guilt for the handgun based on the potential relationship between the gun and inadmissible — yet admitted — drugs.

In any event, the appellate court joined the growing line of courts that find certificates of no record (“CNR”) — offered into evidence here to show the handgun was not registered  — to be non-testmonial even when the custodian of the records does not testify. With the already-argued Melendez case, we shall see in this Supreme Court term the Court’s further interpretation of Crawford.

ADDENDUM: Thanks to my colleague Steve Levin for forwarding Millard to me. Because of the slower frequency of D.C.-issued appellate criminal law opinions than in neighboring Maryland, I sometimes only check D.C. opinions every other day, but I certainly check them prior to any trial in D.C.