If you are charged with a crime and are required to submit to testing so that authorities can collect relevant evidence against you, chances are that it is a crime lab that will analyze the samples you provide. The same could be said for investigations geared towards finding suspects for crimes.
What has become ubiquitous because of the “CSI” television franchise, analyses from state run crime labs have become the gold standard when it comes to proving crimes that were once thought to be unsolvable. However, findings of misconduct in crime labs in a number of states has weakened the credibility of once infallible forensic evidence.
A critical example comes from the state of Massachusetts, where a state crime lab chemist’s misconduct resulted in more than 20,000 drug cases being dismissed. The chemist admitted to forging signatures, misleading investigators and contaminating drug samples for nearly a decade. She eventually pled guilty to obstruction of justice, perjury and evidence tampering. Despite the criminal penalties, the credibility issues cannot be ignored.
Indeed, the continued secrecy within crime labs won’t be broken anytime soon, but these stories are important because they exemplify the need for vigorous representation when it comes to challenging forensic evidence results coming from crime labs.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will not only challenge chain-of-custody questions that come with evidence samples and expose inconsistencies and mistakes made by lab workers in analyzing evidence. Exposing these issues could lead to reasonable doubt when it comes to proving every element of a crime, which can lead to an acquittal.
If you have concerns about forensic evidence being used against you in a criminal case, an experienced attorney can advise you.