Forensic tests and investigation questioned in California


The director of a California state legal agency sent a letter yesterday to Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr alleging that an internal investigation of faulty testing in the county’s crime lab overlooked significant errors that sent an innocent man to prison. Michael Kresser, the executive director of the Sixth District Appellate Program, requested that the DA’s investigation into faulty testing in the wrongful conviction of Jeffrey Rodriguez be reopened.

Rodriguez was convicted of a 2001 robbery, but a judge recently declared him factually innocent of the crime. A Santa Clara County forensic analyst gave faulty testimony that led to Rodriguez’s conviction, but an internal investigation of the error determined that it was a mistake of word choice on the stand. Kresser writes in yesterday’s letter that the error was more than an issue of language.

And Innocence Project Policy Director Stephen Saloom told the San Jose Mercury News that the DA’s internal investigation did not meet requirements of the federal Coverdell grants program, which calls for independent oversight of allegations of forensic misconduct.

Read the full story here

. (San Jose Mercury News, 01/03/08)

Read more about the Coverdell program here


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