July 21, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Melendez-Diaz vs Massachusetts, that presenting certificates by state laboratory analysts saying material in question was cocaine -- without the lab analysts present in court for cross-examination -- violated the accused's Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him. At least one governor, Tim Kaine of Virginia, is taking the ruling seriously, calling an August special session of the General Assembly to address it. Kaine announced in a release today that he will authorize the use of resources from the Economic Contingency Fund to allow forensic professionals to testify as needed in criminal trials in the commonwealth. Kaine said that statutory changes will also be required to manage pending cases, and those will also be taken up during the special session.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.