Williams v. Illinois

PETITIONER: Sandy Williams
RESPONDENT: Illinois
LOCATION: Chicago

DOCKET NO.: 10-8505
DECIDED BY: Roberts Court (2010-2016)
LOWER COURT: Supreme Court of Illinois

CITATION: 566 US (2012)
GRANTED: Jun 28, 2011
ARGUED: Dec 06, 2011
DECIDED: Jun 18, 2012

ADVOCATES:
Anita Alvarez - State's Attorney, Chicago Illinois, for the respondent
Brian W. Carroll - for the petitioner
Michael R. Dreeben - Deputy Solicitor General, Department of Justice, for the United States as amicus curiae, supporting the respondent

Facts of the case

Sandy Williams was convicted of two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and one count each of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. Illinois' appellate court affirmed Williams' conviction but reversed the trial court's imposition of a consecutive sentence. On appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, the defendant argued that the testimony of an Illinois State Police forensic analyst, who relied upon a DNA report prepared by a nontestifying third-party analyst, lacked a sufficient evidentiary foundation. Alternatively, Williams argued that this testimony concerning the report was hearsay presented for the truth of the matter asserted and violated the defendant's Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause right. The state's high court affirmed in part and reversed in part, finding that Williams' Sixth Amendment rights weren't violated.

Question

Can an expert witness be called as a stand-in for a lab analyst who actually did a test on criminal evidence, but did not appear at the trial?

Media for Williams v. Illinois

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 06, 2011 in Williams v. Illinois

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 18, 2012 in Williams v. Illinois

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

Justice Alito has the opinion of the Court in two Cases this morning.

Samuel A. Alito, Jr.:

The first case is Williams versus Illinois, Number 10-8505.

This case involves DNA evidence and the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment.

The petitioner, Sandy Williams was convicted in state court in Illinois for abducting, raping, and robbing a young woman.

At his trial, the victim identified Williams as her attacker and the State also attempted to show that Williams' DNA matched the forensic sample obtained from the victim at the hospital after the rape.

Williams subjected to the testimony by the DNA expert who testified for the State.

After petitioner was convicted, he filed an appeal claiming that the DNA expert's testimony violated the Confrontation Clause.

The State Court of Appeals rejected this argument and the Supreme Court of Illinois affirmed.

We granted certiorari and we now affirm.

Anyone interested in understanding the Court's holding will have to read our opinions.

I have filed an opinion in which the Chief Justice, Justice Kennedy, and Justice Breyer join.

Justice Breyer has filed a concurring opinion.

Justice Thomas has filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.

Justice Kagan has filed a dissenting opinion in which Justices Scalia and Ginsburg and Sotomayor have joined.