Forensics Failures

Laziness in the lab


A series of crime lab scandals over the past several months have rocked the forensics world.

A scientist at the Oregon state crime lab is accused of stealing pills submitted as evidence by law enforcement for analysis and testing. She faces federal charges and was put on leave last fall. But because this analyst worked on roughly 1,500 cases, all her work is now considered "tainted."

Oregon State Police are investigating the same lab for another possible scandal. According to a letter issued by the department, a forensic scientist matched a fingerprint without following proper procedures, then altered his report to make it seem like he had. It's unclear how many cases this analyst worked on.

In Broward County, Florida, a whistleblower accused the crime lab of overstating the significance of DNA tests that yielded inconclusive results. This same crime lab has been the subject of multiple internal affairs investigations after an analyst used tainted drug evidence in several cases.

And a New Jersey state judge recently stated that the nearly 15,000 drug convictions one crime lab analyst worked on may be tainted after it was discovered he faked the results of a marijuana test.