This morning, the Innocence Project filed a formal allegation with the Maryland State Police, requesting a thorough examination of negligence and error in the Baltimore Police Department Crime Lab.
Months ago, it was discovered that DNA from employees at the lab had become mixed with crime scene samples. Although it is standard practice nationwide for lab analysts to compare test results with a database of employee profiles, this step was not taken in the Baltimore lab. This negligence could have led police investigations away from the real perpetrators of crimes and could have contributed to wrongful convictions. The Innocence Project is requesting an inquiry under a 2004 federal law which requires that all labs receiving federal funds have an independent oversight panel to investigate allegations of wrongdoing.
Innocence Project Policy Director Stephen Saloom said today:
“We don’t know how many cases have been contaminated in Baltimore’s crime lab or how those cases might have turned out differently if the lab used proper safeguards. The only way to fully address this is through an independent investigation that can identify the root problem, rather than just the symptoms, and develop specific actions that can prevent future contamination.”