Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bulletin: Jonathan Salvador: Grits for Breakfast calls Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling today which clears the way for many of the 5,000 cases in which the former crime lab employee analyzed evidence to be upheld "an enormous flip-flop by the court and a big win for prosecutors hoping to salvage convictions in cases worked by an incompetent and disreputable forensic analyst." (Must Read. HL);

POST: "Salvaging Salvador: CCA (Court of Criminal Appeals)  reverses course in DPS (Department of Public Safety) crime lab mess," bu Scott Henson, published by "Grits for Breakfast. on January 15, 2014.

GIST: "Reversing course from its prior rulings that would have overturned nearly every conviction in which former DPS crime lab employee Jonathan Salvador analyzed evidence (nearly 5,000 cases), a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling today cleared the way for many if not most of those convictions to be upheld. The court established a two-part test, dividing the burden between the state and defendants. The court continued to maintain that, because of Salvador's egregious misconduct, his lab results should be presumed false. But now the state can overcome that presumption through re-testing. (According to the Forensic Science Commission, evidence is available for re-testing in about 50-75% of cases.) Further, it now falls to the defendant to show that the tainted evidence is "material.".........In any event, it's clear the CCA intends to give the state plenty of wiggle room, even in cases where evidence has been destroyed and can't be re-tested. This was an enormous flip-flop by the court and a big win for prosecutors hoping to salvage convictions in cases worked by an incompetent and disreputable forensic analyst."

The entire post can be found at:

See subsequent Grits for Breakfast post on this topic: "The other day Grits linked to and offered initial thoughts on the unanimous Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decision in Ex Parte Coty, in which the court reversed course regarding how to handle habeas corpus writs related to drug convictions based on lab analyses from fired and discredited DPS crime lab worker Jonathan Salvador. As it turns out, a concurrence to that opinion by Judge Tom Price clears up some of the questions raised in that initial post, so here's Judge Price elucidating exactly what all this means:.........There's a sense in which Judge Price's analysis, while making better sense of Judge Hervey's main opinion, reflects a distinction without a difference. Whether additional evidence overcomes the falsity or the materiality prong of the court's new test won't matter much to defendants. Bottom line, except for cases where re-testing shows Salvador falsified results, the only defendants likely to receive relief are those in whose cases the drug evidence has been destroyed, and even then the CCA has given prosecutors potential means to keep the convictions intact."


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