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NCJ Number: 31767 Find in a Library
Title: LAW AND PRACTICE IN THE IDENTIFICATION OF CONTROLLED DRUGS BY LAY TESTIMONY
Journal: CRIMINAL LAW BULLETIN  Volume:11  Issue:6  Dated:(NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1975)  Pages:814-824
Author(s): C L WILLIAMS
Corporate Author: Warren, Gorham and Lamont, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Warren, Gorham and Lamont, Inc
Boston, MA 02111
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A REVIEW OF COMMON PRACTICES AND JUDICIAL DECISIONS RELATING TO THE ADMISSION OF TESTIMONY BY SUCH LAY WITNESSES AS FORMER DRUG USERS AND POLICE OFFICERS FOR THE PURPOSE OF IDENTIFYING CONTROLLED DRUGS.
Abstract: THE AUTHOR NOTES THAT GENERALLY, THE TESTIMONY OF A WITNESS THAT A GIVEN SUBSTANCE IS A CONTROLLED DRUG IS NOT ADMISSIBLE WHEN THAT WITNESS IS A NEOPHYTE: THAT IS, THAT HE HAS HAD NO EXPERIENCE WITH RESPECT TO THE ALLEGED DRUG. CASES IN WHICH LAY TESTIMONY BY COCONSPIRATORS AND DRUG USERS WAS DEEMED ADMISSIBLE ARE EXAMINED. IT IS STATED THAT BOTH FEDERAL AND STATE COURTS HAVE HELD THAT USERS OF A SCHEDULED DRUG ARE COMPETENT TO ESTABLISH ITS IDENTITY, AND THAT THEIR TESTIMONY IS THEREFORE ADMISSIBLE AS TO THE IDENTITY OF A SUBSTANCE SOLD OR GIVEN THEM. FEDERAL AND STATE COURTS HAVE ALSO LONG HELD THAT COMPETENT POLICE OFFICERS MAY TESTIFY AS TO THE IDENTITY OF A SUBSTANCE SOLD OR GIVEN TO THEM, OR SEIZED BY THEM. SEVERAL CASES ARE REVIEWED WHICH SERVE TO DEMONSTRATE THE TYPE OF TESTIMONY BY POLICE OFFICERS THAT MAY BE ADMITTED AS EVIDENCE. FINALLY, THE AUTHOR REVIEWS TWO CASES IN WHICH THE COURT CONSIDERED THE FACTS OF A CASE AND DETERMINED, BASED ON CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE, THE PROBABLE IDENTITY OF THE SUBSTANCE INVOLVED. THE AUTHOR CRITICIZES THIS APPROACH, AND ARGUES THAT SUCH A PROCEDURE MAKES THE JUDGES WHO ADHERE TO IT SUBJECT TO THE SAME CRITICISMS LEVELED AT NEOPHYTES AND THE ADMISSION OF THEIR TESTIMONY. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED)
Index Term(s): Controlled Substances; Drug analysis; Drug law offenses; Evidence; Evidence identification; Judicial decisions; Rules of evidence; Testimony; Witnesses
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=31767

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