State v. Jones. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-07-1235, 7 pp.) (John C. Martin, Ch.J.) Appealed from Mecklenburg County Superior Court. (Eric L. Levinson, J.) N.C. App. Click here for the full text of the opinion.
Holding: Where the state’s expert who identified the substance seized from defendant as cocaine did not testify, defendant was denied his constitutional right to confront the witnesses against him.
The only other evidence that the substance was cocaine came from the arresting officer, who visually identified the substance. Since visual identification is not enough to identify beyond a reasonable doubt a substance chemically defined by statute, the violation of defendant’s confrontation right was prejudicial.
Defendant is entitled to a new trial.