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Crime lab errors could lead to mishandling of evidence

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Individuals in the state of Texas put an incredible amount of faith in the justice system. The process of criminal prosecution possesses a number of standards including requirements for evidence introduction and proper witnesses for testimony that should allow for convictions of only the guilty individuals. Unfortunately, there are holes in the criminal process and as a result justice is not always served.

One particular issue that has the concept of criminal defense struggling is faulty crime lab procedures in Texas. As previous posts have highlighted, certain crime lab procedures in the state have tragically resulted in incorrect test results on evidence examined. After the discovery of the errors, hundreds of individuals in the state of Texas have been exonerated of the crimes of which they were convicted based of faulty evidence.

Unfortunately, mistakes could continue to occur. One news source recently revealed that a crime lab employee who has a startling history of errors in his work at the lab has been promoted in the industry. The state police crime lab scientist, according to the Texas Forensic Science Commission, has a history of problems with completing accurate and timely work.

According to the report, errors were found in a third of the work he completed. He was also suspended in 2012 after the lab in which he work was questioned for accuracy. The impact of the mistakes created by the lab have effected over 5,000 individuals. The state of Texas is now struggling to determine how to address the convictions associated with this potentially faulty evidence.

Authorities in Texas often send evidence obtained at crime scenes to local state crime labs who then process the products for criminal prosecution. Texas law requires that strict chain of evidence rules be followed and only accurately analyzed evidence be introduced into the courtroom.

A wrongful conviction is one of the most troubling experiences in anyone's life. A criminal conviction can result in jail time, fines and damage to reputation. It is important that any case is taken seriously and vigorously defended.

Source: The Monitor, "Texas crime lab worker had history of poor work," April 5, 2013

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