New Mexico v. NavaretteAnnotate this Case
The issue before the Supreme Court in this case was whether "Crawford v. Washington" (541 U.S. 36 (2004)) and subsequent related case law precluded a forensic pathologist from relating subjective observations recorded in an autopsy report as a basis for the pathologist's trial opinions, when the pathologist neither participated in nor observed the autopsy performed on the decedent. The Court answered this question affirmatively and concluded that there was a Confrontation Clause violation because: (1) the autopsy report contained statements that were made with the primary intention of establishing facts that the declarant understood might be used in a criminal prosecution; (2) the statements in the report were related to the jury as the basis for the pathologist's opinions and were therefore offered to prove the truth of the matters asserted; and (3) the pathologist who recorded her subjective observations in the report did not testify at trial and Defendant Arnoldo Navarette did not have a prior opportunity to cross-examine her. The Court reversed and remanded the case for a new trial. The Court did not address remaining issues raised by defendant as without merit.