When lab work isn’t credible, neither are DUI charges
For someone battling a drunk driving charge, part of that battle is getting over the hurdle of the results of chemical tests. Did a blood test result in a person’s DUI charge? If so, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the charge should stick or that a conviction is appropriate.
This point is supported even more so based on a recent report about a science lab in Colorado. An investigation by Colorado’s Attorney General indicates that there might be various reasons why workers in a toxicology lab could be responsible for goofing up in their jobs.
Lab workers handle the evidence from DUI cases and other criminal cases in Colorado Springs. Their training is supposed to prepare them to properly test and handle blood and urine samples. A goof in a toxicology lab comes with serious consequences. In fact, mistakes in the lab can lead to false allegations, false convictions and injustice overall.
The Attorney General’s report claims that there is a multi-facet problem within the crime lab:
Workers are not properly trained.
Workers aren’t properly handling and securing lab samples.
Supervisors use bias when testifying in court, in favor of prosecutors.
While the allegations against the lab employees are upsetting enough for defense attorneys in Colorado, there is another point that adds to their concern. Authorities didn’t release the findings of this report until months after it was written. That could mean more men and women have fought against false drunk driving allegations or, even worse, been wrongly convicted of crimes while this information might have saved them from the trouble.
Now that the report is out, advocates for justice are challenging the lab. We will post an update when there are developments in this matter.
Source: ABC 7 News, “Colorado state laboratory makes changes after allegations of misconduct,” June 10, 2013