In Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 557 U. S. ___ (2009), this Court held that a forensic laboratory report stating that a suspect substance was cocaine ranked as testimonial for purposes of the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause. The report had been created specifically to serve as evidence in a criminal proceeding. Absent stipulation, the Court ruled, the prosecution may not introduce such a report without offering a live witness competent to testify to the truth of the statements made in the report.
In the case before us, petitioner Donald Bullcoming was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated(DWI). Principal evidence against Bullcoming was a forensic laboratory report certifying that Bullcoming’s blood alcohol concentration was well above the threshold for aggravated DWI. At trial, the prosecution did not call as awitness the analyst who signed the certification. Instead, the State called another analyst who was familiar with the laboratory’s testing procedures, but had neither participated in nor observed the test on Bullcoming’s blood sample. The New Mexico Supreme Court determined that, although the blood-alcohol analysis was “testimonial,” the Confrontation Clause did not require the certifying analyst’s in-court testimony. Instead, New Mexico’s high court held, live testimony of another analyst satisfied the constitutional requirements.
The question presented is whether the Confrontation Clause permits the prosecution to introduce a forensic laboratory report containing a testimonial certification—made for the purpose of proving a particular fact—through the in-court testimony of a scientist who did not sign the certification or perform or observe the test reported in the certification. We hold that surrogate testimony of that order does not meet the constitutional requirement. The accused’s right is to be confronted with the analyst who made the certification, unless that analyst is unavailable at trial, and the accused had an opportunity, pretrial, to cross-examine that particular scientist.
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The case was tried to a jury in November 2005, after our decision in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U. S. 36 (2004), but before Melendez-Diaz. On the day of trial, the State announced that it would not be calling SLD analyst Curtis Caylor as a witness because he had “very recently [been] put on unpaid leave” for a reason not revealed. . . . A startled defense counsel objected. The prosecution, she complained, had never disclosed, until trial commenced, that the witness “out there . . . [was] not the analyst [of Bullcoming’s sample].” . . .Counsel stated that, “had [she] known that the analyst [who tested Bullcoming’s blood] was not available,” her opening, indeed, her entire defense “may very well have been dramatically different.” . . . The State, however, proposed to introduce Caylor’s finding as a “business record” during the testimony of Gerasimos Razatos, an SLD scientist who had neither observed nor reviewed Caylor’s analysis. . . . .
Bullcoming’s counsel opposed the State’s proposal. . . . Without Caylor’s testimony, defense counsel maintained, introduction of the analyst’s finding would violate Bullcoming’s Sixth Amendment right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” . . . The trial court overruled the objection, . . . and admitted the SLD report as a business record . . . . [Footnote omitted.]
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In light of Melendez-Diaz, the New Mexico Supreme Court acknowledged that the blood-alcohol report introduced at Bullcoming’s trial qualified as testimonial evidence. Like the affidavits in Melendez-Diaz, the court observed, the report was “functionally identical to live, in court testimony, doing precisely what a witness does on direct examination.” . . . Nevertheless, for two reasons, the court held that admission of the report did not violate the Confrontation Clause.
First, the court said certifying analyst Caylor “was a mere scrivener,” who “simply transcribed the results generated by the gas chromatograph machine.” . . . Second, SLD analyst Razatos, although he did not participate in testing Bullcoming’s blood, “qualified as an expert witness with respect to the gas chromatograph machine.” . . . “Razatos provided live, in-court testimony,” the court stated, “and, thus, was available for cross-examination regarding the operation of the . . . machine, the results of [Bullcoming’s] BAC test, and the SLD’s established laboratory procedures.” . . . Razatos’ testimony was crucial, the court explained, because Bullcoming could not cross-examine the machine or the written report. . . . But “[Bullcoming’s] right of confrontation was preserved,” the court concluded, because Razatos was a qualified analyst, able to serve as a surrogate for Caylor. . . . .
We granted certiorari to address this question: Does theConfrontation Clause permit the prosecution to introduce a forensic laboratory report containing a testimonial certification, made in order to prove a fact at a criminal trial, through the in-court testimony of an analyst who did not sign the certification or personally perform or observe the performance of the test reported in the certification. Our answer is in line with controlling precedent: As a rule, if an out-of-court statement is testimonial in nature, it may not be introduced against the accused at trial unless the witness who made the statement is unavailable and the accused has had a prior opportunity to confront that witness. Because the New Mexico Supreme Court permitted the testimonial statement of one witness, i.e., Caylor, to enter into evidence through the in-court testimony of a second person, i.e., Razatos, we reverse that court’s judgment.
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The New Mexico Supreme Court held surrogate testimony adequate to satisfy the Confrontation Clause in this case because analyst Caylor “simply transcribed the resul[t] generated by the gas chromatograph machine,” presenting no interpretation and exercising no independent judgment. 226 P. 3d, at 8. Bullcoming’s “true ‘accuser,’” the court said, was the machine, while testing analyst Caylor’s role was that of “mere scrivener.” Id., at 9. Caylor’s certification, however, reported more than a machine-generated number. See supra, at 3–4.
Caylor certified that he received Bullcoming’s blood sample intact with the seal unbroken, that he checked to make sure that the forensic report number and the sample number “correspond[ed],” and that he performed on Bullcoming’s sample a particular test, adhering to a precise protocol. App. 62–65. He further represented, by leaving the “[r]emarks” section of the report blank, that no “circumstance or condition . . . affect[ed] the integrity of the sample or . . . the validity of the analysis.” Id., at 62, 65. These representations, relating to past events and human actions not revealed in raw, machine-produced data, are meet for cross-examination.
The potential ramifications of the New Mexico Supreme Court’s reasoning, furthermore, raise red flags. Most witnesses, after all, testify to their observations of factual conditions or events, e.g., “the light was green,” “the hour was noon.” Such witnesses may record, on the spot, what they observed. Suppose a police report recorded an objective fact—Bullcoming’s counsel posited the address above the front door of a house or the read-out of a radar gun. . . . Could an officer other than the one who saw the number on the house or gun present the information in court—so long as that officer was equipped to testify about any technology the observing officer deployed and the police department’s standard operating procedures? As our precedent makes plain, the answer is emphatically “No.” See Davis v. Washington, 547 U. S. 813, 826 (2006) (Confrontation Clause may not be “evaded by having a note-taking police[ officer] recite the . . . testimony of the declarant” (emphasis deleted)); Melendez-Diaz, 557 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 6) (KENNEDY, J., dissenting) (“The Court made clear in Davis that it will not permit the testimonial statement of one witness to enter into evidence through the in-court testimony of a second.”).
The New Mexico Supreme Court stated that the number registered by the gas chromatograph machine called for no interpretation or exercise of independent judgment on Caylor’s part. 226 P. 3d, at 8–9. We have already explained that Caylor certified to more than a machine generated number. . . . In any event, the comparative reliability of an analyst’s testimonial report drawn from machine-produced data does not overcome the Sixth Amendment bar. This Court settled in Crawford that the “obviou[s] reliab[ility]” of a testimonial statement does not dispense with the Confrontation Clause. 541 U. S., at 62; see id., at 61 (Clause “commands, not that evidence be reliable, but that reliability be assessed in a particular manner: by testing [the evidence] in the crucible of cross-examination”). Accordingly, the analysts who write reports that the prosecution introduces must be made available for confrontation even if they possess “the scientific acumen of Mme. Curie and the veracity of Mother Teresa.” Melendez-Diaz, 557 U. S., at ___, n. 6 (slip op., at 14, n. 6).
Recognizing that admission of the blood-alcohol analysis depended on “live, in-court testimony [by] a qualified analyst,” 226 P. 3d, at 10, the New Mexico Supreme Court believed that Razatos could substitute for Caylor because Razatos “qualified as an expert witness with respect to the gas chromatograph machine and the SLD’s laboratory procedures,” Id., at 9. But surrogate testimony of the kind Razatos was equipped to give could not convey what Caylor knew or observed about the events his certification concerned, i.e., the particular test and testing process he employed. [Footnote omitted.] Nor could such surrogate testimony expose any lapses or lies on the certifying analyst’s part. [Footnote omitted.] Significant here, Razatos had no knowledge of the reason why Caylor had been placed on unpaid leave. With Caylor on the stand, Bullcoming’s counsel could have asked questions designed to reveal whether incompetence, evasiveness, or dishonesty accounted for Caylor’s removal from his work station. Notable in this regard, the State never asserted that Caylor was “unavailable”; the prosecution conveyed only that Caylor was on uncompensated leave.Nor did the State assert that Razatos had any “independent opinion” concerning Bullcoming’s BAC. . . . In this light, Caylor’s live testimonycould hardly be typed “a hollow formality,” post, at 4.
More fundamentally, as this Court stressed in Crawford, “[t]he text of the Sixth Amendment does not suggest any open-ended exceptions from the confrontation requirement to be developed by the courts.” 541 U. S., at 54. Nor is it “the role of courts to extrapolate from the words of the [Confrontation Clause] to the values behind it, and then to enforce its guarantees only to the extent they serve(in the courts’ views) those underlying values.” Giles v. California, 554 U. S. 353, 375 (2008). Accordingly, the Clause does not tolerate dispensing with confrontation simply because the court believes that questioning one witness about another’s testimonial statements provides a fair enough opportunity for cross-examination.
GINSBURG, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, except as to Part IV and footnote 6. SCALIA, J., joined that opinion in full, SOTOMAYOR and KAGAN, JJ., joined as to all but Part IV, and THOMAS, J., joined as to all but Part IV and footnote 6. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed an opinion concurring in part. KENNEDY, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and BREYER and ALITO, JJ., joined.