Several reports in recent months have called the work of Washington state crime labs into question, and an independent panel says in a new review of the labs that false test results cast a “cloud of doubt” on forensic analysis in the state’s labs.
The Washington Forensic Investigations Council issued six recommendations for cleaning up state crime labs after a rash of scandals – involving bullet tests, blood-alcohol tests and other analyses – surfaced in the last year. Among the council’s recommendations were increases in staffing and oversight at the state’s eight labs.
Doubts about the accuracy of the lab's breath-test results surfaced last summer, when toxicology lab manager Ann Marie Gordon was accused of signing off on scientific tests in cases she hadn't actually done.
Another employee, Evan Thompson, made technical errors and violated lab procedures when analyzing a bullet's trajectory.
Both have since resigned.
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. (The Olympian, 04/23/08)
Last fall, the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers urged the council to examine problems at the lab.
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Read about the Innocence Project’s work to improve crime lab oversight