EDITORIAL: "DWI lab controversy one big avoidable mess" published by The Dallas News on November 1, 2016:
GIST: "The credibility of the criminal justice system requires that relevant information be disclosed in a timely fashion. But that tenet took a hit recently when a Texas Department of Public Safety blood-testing expert offered conflicting testimony under oath about his handling of samples in a 2013 case. Christopher Youngkin has damaged his credibility and that of the justice system. Rightly, he has been benched from future testing and appearances as an expert witness in Dallas, Collin, Denton and Rockwall Counties. However, damage has been done already. Prosecutors and defense attorneys across North Texas are scrambling to review all cases he's touched for the accuracy of his findings. Cleaning up this mess will take time and money to retest samples and could result in reversals of some DWI convictions. And it revealed a serious breakdown in reporting protocols that could encourage analysts to sugarcoat or hide errors. The original error occurred in 2013, when Youngkin mixed up the results of two blood samples; he sent a report to Anna police showing a blood-alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit for a woman who had not been drinking. The error was discovered within days, the samples were retested, no one was harmed. At the time, Youngkin and DPS officials deemed the error to be an isolated incident. They did not contact district attorney's offices or the Texas Forensic Science Commission, which could have made the information more widely known. But the issue cropped up again last month. On the stand, he was questioned by a defense attorney about conflicting testimony — a Dallas County case in which he'd testified that he had switched vials, and a Collin County case in which he'd never done so. The mess came to a head when he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, which sent shockwaves through the legal community. Errors happen; sometimes, they are excusable. Misleading testimony under oath from a state blood-testing analyst and DWI expert isn't one of those times. Expert witnesses carry great weight with judges and juries. What Youngkin did is a disservice to defendants and comes uncomfortably close to violating legal requirements that lawyers have access to and disclose relevant information in a case. Both defendants and prosecutors are hurt when an analyst plays hide-the-error in testimony.......You'd think that a state blood-testing expert would know better than to parse words under oath — particularly about a testing screw up in a DWI case that would have the potential to undermine thousands of cases. And as is so often the case, the cover-up can be worse than the crime."
The entire editorial can be found at:
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/