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State crime lab biased toward prosecutors in drug crimes?

Whenever an individual is charged with a serious crime, police will often have spent a considerable amount of resources investigating the alleged criminal act. The evidence gathered as part of the investigation will be used at trial by prosecutors to obtain convictions. 

Certain crimes, such as drug charges or driving under the influence cases, will often result in evidence needing to be tested by a crime lab. These tests determine the type of substances that may be causing the impairment, or to learn if a motorist was under the influence while he or she was driving. If the crime lab followed the procedures correctly, this can be very difficult evidence to overcome for the defendant. 

A recent review of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's crime lab determined that a supervisor at the facility may have fabricated some of the test results used to obtain convictions in criminal cases. The report also noted that there may have been a lack of proper training to test blood-alcohol levels, and that samples for cases were not being stored securely, potentially allowing for contamination.

The audit was complete in early March, but the results were not made widely known until this past week. This means that there may have been many more cases where prosecutors used evidence from the lab against defendants. After the report on the lab was released, the supervisor of the lab resigned.

This supervisor had previously been called to testify in support of the state's efforts at passing the new driving under the influence of marijuana law.

Individuals charged with drug crimes may wish to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn more about their case. An attorney can examine the facts behind the arrest to learn of any possible defenses that may be available.

 

 

 

Source: Fox 31 Denver, "Report: Former state lab supervisor involved in possible cover-up," Eli Stokols, June 9, 2013. 

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