Virginia responds to Melendez-Diaz, with a Constitutionally questionable vengeance
With a vengeance, Virginia’s legislature and governor have pushed through their Constitutionally questionable response to Melendez-Diaz.
A year and a half ago, when I challenged the Constitutionality of Virginia’s since-dropped civil financial penalties for DWI convictions, one District Court judge concluded he had no authority to pass on the Constitutionality of a statute, and that such determinations had to be made by the Defendant’s appealing for a trial de novo in Circuit Court. However, taking a trial de novo in Circuit Court only is possible if there is a District Court conviction, and means that the District Court sentence is no cap on the Circuit Court sentence. Jon Katz.
ADDENDUM I: Thanks to a listserv member for bringing this bill to my attention.
ADDENDUM II: August 27, 2009 – Thanks to a listserv member for providing this link to the forms here and here that are available for objecing to a Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office’s notice of its intent to introduce into evidence affidavits and certificates of analysis without live testimony.