Another Problem With A California Crime Lab

Jun 4, 2013 — by Myles L. Berman | Comments (0)
Tags: State Crime Labs California Dui Laws Blood Draw Testing

A former crime lab forensic criminalist who worked at California's Central Valley Crime Lab in Ripon was accused of and plead guilty to stealing drugs from the crime lab. The crime lab does analysis for five counties which are San Joaquin, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Merced and Stanislaus. The criminalist was apparently stealing drugs at the same time he was testifying for the prosecution in cases involving drug analysis. Thousands of cases, including cases in which the criminalist either testified in court or did analysis on drugs were jeopardized. Crime labs need to be above reproach. This is especially true in DUI / Drunk Driving cases where state/county criminalists analyze alcohol and drugs and are often called to testify on behalf of the prosecution.

Update on Massachusetts Crime Lab Problems

Apr 5, 2013 — by Myles L. Berman | Comments (0)
Tags: State Crime Labs Law Enforcement Agency Blood Draw Testing

As you may recall, I've been writing for quite some time about a former Massachusetts chemist who is accused of faking test results and tampering with evidence. Now the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts is asking the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to put on hold the sentences of defendants where the chemist was involved while motions for new trials are pending. This is yet another example of how defense lawyers are at the forefront of preserving our liberties in courts throughout the country so that we can continue to be a free society. No one should be convicted of a crime based on dishonest evidence. This is especially true in DUI / Drunk Driving cases as chemists play a key role in prosecuting these types of cases.

Another Crime Lab With Problems

Oct 20, 2012 — by Myles L. Berman | Comments (0)
Tags: State Crime Labs Blood Draw Testing

The Massachusetts state crime lab is reeling from the fallout of a chemist who was so ambitious to please prosecutors, police and her bosses by allegedly completing so many drug tests which many, as it now turns out, were faked or false. Over a 9 year period, the chemist supposedly tested 60,000 drug samples involving 34,000 defendants. Reports indicate the chemist was doing as much as 10 times a month the number of tests as the average chemist. The crime lab has been shut down by the governor. The public health commissioner was also fired. Special court sessions were set up to deal with the legal fallout from the chemist's actions. Tens of thousands of cases have been thrown into jeopardy as a result of the actions of both the chemist and others in the crime lab. Breath and blood testing in DUI / Drunk Driving cases are almost always conducted in coordination with crime labs across the Unites States.

Another California Crime Lab Analyst Charged

Dec 29, 2010 — by Myles L. Berman | Comments (0)
Tags: State Crime Labs Blood Draw Testing Breathalyzer

A former California crime lab analyst has been charged with taking drug samples from the crime lab he worked at. The analyst worked at the Central Valley Crime Lab in Ripon. The crime lab processed drug samples for California police agencies in Calaveras, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Toulumne Counties. As posted previously, crime lab analysts often times maintain breat testing machines and analyze blood in DUI / Drunk Driving cases. They also testify in court on a regular basis in DUI / Drunk Driving cases as an expert for the prosecution. I'm quite sure that every case this crime lab analyst was involved with will now be looked at again. Authorities concluded he was taking the drugs when it was discovered that samples he worked on weighed less than when the drugs were checked in.

North Carolina Crime Lab Faulty

Aug 19, 2010 — by Myles L. Berman | Comments (0)
Tags: State Crime Labs Blood Draw Testing

Agents of the State Bureau of Investigations for North Carolina discovered that state crime lab analysts either overstated, omitted or falsified results of blood evidence in dozens of cases. In three of those cases, the defendants were executed. Apparently from 1987-2003, prosecutors were aided by agents of the State Bureau of Investigations who were misrepresenting blood evidence and keeping crucial notes from defense attorneys as well. The above findings were a result of a review 190 cases ordered by the State Attorney General after a man was imprisoned for 17 years for a murder he didn't commit. As I have reported previously, state crime labs throughout California and the US are routinely used to prosecute people arrested for DUI / Drunk Driving.

National Crime Lab Agency Proposed

Jun 10, 2010 — by Myles L. Berman | Comments (0)
Tags: State Crime Labs Drunk Driving Arrests

As a result of corruption, incompetence and scientific fraud, the National Research Council of the National Academies have issued a report urging reform in the forensic science field for crime labs across the United States. Crime labs are routinely relied on in DUI / Drunk Driving prosecutions across the country. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers also supports the creation of an independent science-based federal agency. Crime lab witnesses are notoriously known for testifying in DUI / Drunk Driving cases favorably for the state with opinions that are at odds with numerous scientific studies and voluminous research. Taking crime labs away from police agencies and creating independent agencies may help innocent people from being convicted of crimes, including DUI / Drunk Driving.

San Francisco DA Sets Up New Crime Lab

Apr 28, 2010 — by Myles L. Berman | Comments (0)
Tags: State Crime Labs Law Enforcement Agency

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris announced she is creating an independent crime lab separate from the police department as a result of the recent problems surrounding the San Francisco crime lab. As you may recall, one of the crime lab technicians was alleged to have drug problems and used inventoried drugs personally while working at the crime lab. So far, about 550 drug cases have been dismissed. In DUI / Drunk Driving cases, both blood and on occasion urine tests are routinely analyzed and tested by law enforcement crime labs. In addition, technicians or chemists from these crime labs are routinely used to testify in court for the prosecution in DUI / Drunk Driving cases. Going forward, the San Francisco District Attorney's office will prepare guidelines in dealing with misconduct by law enforcement employees.

San Francisco Crime Lab Still In Spotlight

Apr 19, 2010 — by Myles L. Berman | Comments (0)
Tags: State Crime Labs Law Enforcement Agency

Recently, I wrote about problems encountered by the San Francisco Crime lab which caused it to close down. Apparently, there are thousands of pages of documents sought by defense attorneys. In addition, the court inquired into how the District Attorney's Office looks into criminal and/or misconduct committed by law enforcement employees. The District Attorney's Office indicated it relied on law enforcement to provide the information. This position did not sit well with the court. The information sought by defense attorneys is necessary to determine if any evidence in pending cases as well as closed cases, including DUI / Drunk Driving cases, would come into question which could lead to further dismissals or reversal of convictions. In the meantime, prosecutors are collecting and maintaining records in case they will be needed later.

San Francisco Crime Lab Closure Leads To 180 Cases Dismissed

Mar 18, 2010 — by Myles L. Berman | Comments (0)
Tags: State Crime Labs Blood Draw Testing Dui Charges Dismissed

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, 180 narcotic cases have been dropped by San Francisco prosecutors since a San Francisco Police Department crime lab scandal recently became public. The crime lab has been closed since March 9th. The San Francisco District Attorney's Office has stated that more cases will be dismissed unless and until the drugs seized can be tested by a different source. Apparently, a criminalist employed at the crime lab is suspected of possibly taking cocaine from the crime lab. It was reported that the criminalist's sister contacted a lab supervisor on December 16, 2009, and reported that she saw what appeared to be a police vial of cocaine inside the criminalist's home.

San Diego Releases Inmates Based On Faulty Lab Results

Jan 11, 2010 — by Myles L. Berman | Comments (0)
Tags: State Crime Labs Drunk Driving Arrests Dui Charges Dismissed

As I blogged about a while back, faulty lab results were discovered in toxicology reports on blood and urine tests from a private company contracted with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Toxicology labs routine test for alcohol and drugs in DUI / Drunk Driving cases. The county originally thought only a few cases may be affected. However, officials ordered a review of 675 cases dating from March, 2009 through December, 2009. So far, 11 people have been released from Vista jail as a result of the review. Hundreds of more cases are still under review. The private lab notified the Sheriff's department last summer as a result of an inexperienced lab worker. The San Diego Sheriff's Department no longer uses the services of the private lab. It has yet to be determined how many DUI / Drunk Driving cases have been affected.