State v. Brewington, 367 N.C. 29 (Jun. 27, 2013)

Reversing the Court of Appeals, the Court held that no Crawford violation occurred when the State proved that the substance at issue was cocaine through the use of a substitute analyst. The seized evidence was analyzed at the SBI by Assistant Supervisor in Charge Nancy Gregory. At trial, however, the substance was identified as cocaine, over the defendant’s objection, by SBI Special Agent Kathleen Schell. Relying on Gregory’s report, Schell testified to the opinion that the substance was cocaine; Gregory’s report itself was not introduced into evidence. Relying on Ortiz-Zape, the court concluded that Schell presented an independent opinion formed as a result of her own analysis, not mere surrogate testimony.