Evidence, testimonial; procedure notifying defendant of introduction of certificate of analysis. (SB5003)

Introduced By

Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Springfield)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Testimonial evidence; admissibility.  Provides a procedure whereby the attorney for the Commonwealth notifies the defendant that he intends to introduce a certificate of analysis of laboratory (DNA, blood, drug, etc.) or DUI breath-test results. The same notification procedure will apply when the Commonwealth seeks to introduce an affidavit indicating an accused's failure to register as a sex offender. The defendant may object to the admission of the certificate or affidavit and require that the person who performed the analysis or examination or a custodian of the sex offender registry testify. If the defendant does not object he waives his objection to the introduction of the certificate or affidavit and it may be offered into evidence without the appearance and testimony of the analyst or custodian.

If the defendant objects and the person who performed the analysis or examination or the custodian of the records is unavailable to testify in the Commonwealth's case-in-chief, the court shall order a continuance, provided that such continuances shall not exceed 180 days for a person who is not incarcerated and 90 days when the person is incarcerated. The speedy trial statute is tolled during such continuances. There is also a provision for a continuance if the defendant did not receive timely notice.

The notice procedure as constructed in this measure applies to criminal trials and hearings but does not apply in preliminary hearings.

When a certificate is offered into evidence, the defendant's right to call the person who performed the analysis as an adverse witness, at the Commonwealth's expense, is preserved.

Information on breath-test machine testing accuracy is removed as a component of the DUI breath certificate of analysis. This is intended to remove the possible testimonial quality of the calibration of the machine. 

This bill is in response to the United States Supreme Court decision in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 557 U.S. (June 25, 2009).

The bill has an emergency clause.

This bill is identical to HB 5007. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


08/17/2009Prefiled and ordered printed with emergency clause; offered 08/19/09 091567802
08/17/2009Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
08/19/2009Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (12-Y 0-N)
08/19/2009Committee substitute printed 090994802-S1
08/19/2009Committee substitute agreed to 090994802-S1
08/19/2009Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute SB5003S1
08/19/2009Constitutional reading dispensed (36-Y 0-N)
08/19/2009Passed Senate (36-Y 0-N)
08/19/2009Placed on Calendar
08/19/2009Read first time
08/19/2009Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
08/19/2009Reported from Courts of Justice (20-Y 0-N)
08/19/2009Constitutional readings dispensed (90-Y 0-N)
08/19/2009Passed House BLOCK VOTE (90-Y 0-N)
08/19/2009VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (90-Y 0-N)
08/20/2009Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB5003ER)
08/20/2009Signed by President
08/20/2009Signed by Speaker
09/15/2009G Approved by Governor-Chapter 4 (effective 9/15/09)
09/15/2009G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0004)