Friday, July 01, 2005
So, I guess this means we won't be seeing CSI: Houston anytime soon?
Aw, who cares? They were all probably guilty, anyway.
Officials Ignored Houston Lab's Troubles, Report FindsI wonder how many people are on Death Row because of these horrible foul-ups? Not that they are innocent, but they don't have to be. If I had been convicted because of evidence processed by Houston's police lab, I'd be getting my appeal in, oh, say, now. This is going to cost Houston millions, if not more. Some Texas miracle.
For years, while rain from a leaky roof contaminated evidence in the Houston Police Crime Laboratory, and thousands of backlogged rape kits from sexual assault victims went untested, city and police officials turned their backs as the laboratory became a "shambles," tainting an untold number of cases, an outside investigator reported on Thursday.
Officials even failed to take proper action when two laboratory analysts were cited for four instances of fabricating scientific evidence, or drylabbing, said the investigator, Michael R. Bromwich, a Washington lawyer and former Justice Department inspector general called in by the city to conduct the review.
By the time a state audit in 2002 confirmed problems exposed by a local television station, KHOU, Mr. Bromwich reported, "the DNA Section was in shambles - plagued by a leaky roof, operating for years without a line supervisor, overseen by a technical leader who had no personal experience performing DNA analysis and who was lacking the qualifications under the F.B.I. standards, staffed by underpaid and undertrained analysts, and generating mistake-ridden and poorly documented casework."
By 2002, the number of untested rape kits had grown to 19,500, some dating back to 1980, and the backlog is still about 10,000, the report said. Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 flooded the laboratory, and in 33 homicide and rape cases, employees were quoted as reporting, "this biological evidence had become so saturated with water that they observed bloody water dripping out of the boxes containing the evidence and pooling on the floor."
In another location, the property room - where 280 cartons of misplaced evidence from 8,000 cases dating back to the 1960's were discovered last year - rats were found eating through evidence boxes.
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