Friday, December 09, 2011
The Cellmark report
Because the Cellmark report was never formally introduced at the Williams trial, it was never made part of the record. But it is, of course, at the center of the case before the Supreme Court. (One might call it the Hamlet of the Supreme Court case.) Several weeks ago, Williams’ counsel wrote to the Court proposing to lodge copies of the report with the Court. The state objected. What could have motivated the state to do so? I suspect that worries about the bounds of the appellate record were not at stake. I suspect, rather, that the state recognized that actually seeing the report would undermine any arguments that the report was insufficiently formal to be considered testimonial, that the key information was simply machine generated, and that it could be considered circumstantial evidence of the perpetrator’s profile. The Court approved the lodging last week, and the report is now on file with the Court. Given that it is now a public document, I intend to post it next week. I can’t do so just yet, largely because of mechanical issues but also because I first want to clarify a few factual points. But I do think that seeing the report will help clarify that Lambatos took a human-produced statement of a genetic profile, which she could not have generated on her own, and used it to say that Williams was the perpetrator.