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California criminal defense: Faulty crime lab results

In California and across the country, crime labs are kept busy by an ever increasing amount of specimens needing analysis. The reports provided by lab technicians are often used by prosecuting attorneys in an attempt to achieve a criminal conviction. However, lately there has been much speculation about the professionalism of lab staff and the accuracy of test results. For those accused of crimes where lab results are submitted as evidence, a strategic criminal defense would certainly include questioning any test results provided by one of these facilities.

Currently, in a city in the northern part of the state, well over 1,000 criminal cases are being audited due to concerns regarding test results provided by the police department's crime lab. According to a recent report, many of these labs are not required to be accredited, which is believed to be a major contributing factor in analysis mistakes and even specimen tampering. The issues with this particular crime lab were discovered when it was found that DNA evidence had been tampered with, which contributed to a conviction against an individual accused of molestation. That case is one of the many that are being reviewed.

Crime lab scandals have affected cities across the country for many years. So far, over 300 convictions have been overturned since 1989 due to improper handling and analysis of DNA evidence, in particular. Of those cases, it was determined that faulty forensic science contributed to about half of the convictions.

Crime labs are used to analyze all sorts of evidence, including DNA analysis, certain blood tests and drug testing. California residents who have been accused of a crime that requires any supposed evidence be sent to a crime lab for testing would certainly be well within their rights to question any final test results. While fighting these results is not necessarily an easy task, a criminal defense team will be able to fully exam and investigate testing procedures to ensure any forensic evidence offered has not been improperly treated. No one should be convicted due to lab error or corruption. Legal help is available to all those who feel this is an issue that could negatively affect their cases, and for those who feel they have been suffered wrongful convictions as a result of poor forensic science.

Source: motherjones.com, "Forget CSI: Real-Life Crime Labs Are a Total Mess", Rebecca Cohen, April 20, 2015

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Former Criminal Prosecutor With Proven Results