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Lab Techs, Confrontation, and AEDPA

The Ninth Circuit decided a habeas case involving lab techs and the Confrontation Clause today in Flournoy v. Small, No. 11-55015.  

The case is a good illustration of how a case that would be difficult and close on direct review becomes easy and straightforward under AEDPA.  After going through Crawford, Melendez-Diaz, and Bullcoming, the court notes that key issues relevant to Flourney's case remain open even today.  That's all a court needs to decide that the state court decision (preceding both Melendez-Diaz and Bullcoming) was not contrary to clearly established federal law. 
The ineffective assistance part of the opinion also illustrates how counsel may sometimes legitimately choose not to press one line of defense because it conflicts with another having better prospects.  "I've never seen this woman before in my life, and besides that she consented to have sex with me" doesn't go over real well.

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