April’s Fools: On April 1, 2014 Pennsylvania becomes a notice and demand state

How do you cross examine a piece of paper?

On February 19, 2014, effective April 1, 2014, upon the joint recommendation of the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee and the Committee on Rules of Evidence, the Supreme Court adopted new Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 574 to provide procedures for the admissibility of forensic laboratory reports in lieu of expert testimony.

Click for Order

Click for new Criminal Rule 574

Click for Report of the Supreme Court

In conjunction with the new criminal rule, the Supreme Court promulgated revised comment to Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence 802 concerning hearsay.

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Click for Final Report

Click for new Comment to Rule 802

This is bad news for justice. But it is good news in that Commonwealth v. Yohe is no longer controlling. Now upon simple demand, defense attorneys can demand the actual analyst to come into court and testify.

Note the specific language here in the Rule:

(1) Within 10 days of service of the notice provided in paragraph (B), the defendant’s attorney, or if unrepresented, the defendant may file and serve, as provided in Rule 576, upon the attorney for the Commonwealth a written demand for the person who performed the analysis or examination that is the subject of the forensic laboratory report to testify at trial.

(emphasis added)


PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Avvo.com. Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.



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