Eric F. Kramer

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In Mitchell v. State, a unanimous Georgia Supreme Court held that the State must provide a scientific foundation for the Romberg Balance test (Romberg test) before its results are admissible against a defendant in DUI cases. To satisfy the standard set by the supreme court in Harper v. State, the State must show that a scientific procedure has reached a "stage of verifiable certainty" to produce reliable results. Additionally, the State must show that the procedure was "substantially performed ... in an acceptable manner." The trial court acts as the gatekeeper by determining the admissibility of a scientific procedure's results under Harper, and may only admit those results after finding that the State has satisfied both prongs of the Harper standard. ...

Mitchell is just one of the supreme court's recent decisions that have trended toward harsher admissibility standards for field sobriety test evidence. These decisions place a heavier burden on the State while protecting defendants from convictions based on questionable scientific procedures or evidence acquired through a violation of a defendant's rights

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