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