Oral argument: December 6, 2011
Appealed from: The Supreme Court of Illinois (July 15, 2010)
Petitioner, Sandy Williams, was charged with sexual assault on 22-year-old L.J in 2000. At trial, the prosecution called an expert witness to testify about DNA test results that identified Williams as the assailant. He moved to strike the evidence under the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause because the testifying witness had not performed the DNA tests. The court denied his motion and convicted Williams of sexual assault, kidnapping, and robbery. He contends that allowing an expert witness to testify regarding forensic reports when the witness did not prepare the reports violates the Confrontation Clause. Williams insists that he must have the opportunity to cross-examine the analysts that prepared the reports, particularly because DNA test results are prone to error or manipulation. Respondent, the State of Illinois, argues that allowing the expert witness to testify does not violate the Confrontation Clause because the witness was applying her own independent analysis and opinions concerning the report.