The Houston Police Department continues to struggle with crime lab errors and problems with poorly trained and unqualified lab technicians. A
recent report from the Houston Chronicle
found a decade of lingering and unaddressed problems in the HPD fingerprint lab, from sloppy tests and procedures to shortcomings in training and technology. These reports come after
years of problems
with the lab’s DNA and firearms sections.
Defense attorney Patrick F. McCann wrote in
an op-ed this weekend
that the problem in Houston’s lab makes clear the need for forensic oversight:
Our leaders should create a regional crime lab, actually run by scientists, perhaps under a university, and not under any elected sheriff or appointed law enforcement officer, that can run actual, neutral and competent forensic testing untainted by pressure and uncorrupted by malfeasance or negligence. The people accused of crimes are owed that much. We as taxpayers are owed that much.
The Innocence Project is a member of the
Just Science coalition
, which supports federal and state support, research and oversight of forensic disciplines in the United States to ensure public safety and prevent wrongful convictions. Learn more about federal forensic reform efforts