Monday, May 5, 2014

Bulletin: Santa Clara County Crime Lab: District Attorney says critical mistakes in testing for methamphetamine went unnoticed for months; NBC.

STORY: "Critical mistakes at Santa Clara County crime lab went unnoticed for months: DA," published by NBC on May 5, 2014.

GIST: "Critical mistakes at a Santa Clara County crime lab went unnoticed for two months, and prosecutors are promising change, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said. The errors happened while testing for meth from January through March, according to the DA's office. The blood and urine test results came back positive when they should have been negative. A criminalist discovered the error last month after noticing the test's sensitivity was set higher than it should be."
The entire story can be found at:

See  related San Jose Mercury News story: "Crime lab analysts used the wrong chemical to conduct preliminary methamphetamine tests earlier this year on the blood samples of 2,500 people who were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office disclosed Monday. However, retesting found that only seven tests had showed a false positive because of the mistake by lab analyst Mark Burry, according to assistant district attorney David Angel, head of the office's conviction-integrity unit. No one is in custody because of a mistaken test, he said. Burry apparently grabbed the wrong solution off a shelf in January and loaded a machine with the more sensitive compound, Angel said. The problem was discovered by another analyst in March. "It was human error," Angel said. "The chemicals have similar names and they were close to each other." Burry is no longer assigned to drug testing during the investigation, and the lab is taking steps to better label its chemicals as well as to conduct a wholesale review of its procedures. The matter also will be independently investigated by the national crime-lab accrediting agency."


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