"Reformers have for years recommended that all forensic labs be independent from law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies' and this is a key reform promoted by The Justice Project (2008). But fixing these problems is only half the answer' because half of the wrongful convictions attributed to misleading forensic evidence involved deliberate forensic fraud' evidence tampering' and/or perjury.
From "The Elephant in the Crime Lab," by co-authored by Sheila Berry and Larry Ytuarte; Forensic Examiner; Spring, 2009;
STORY: "Ex-prosecutor: Cayuga County DA secretly withheld key evidence in 15 cases," by reporter John O'Brien, published by syracuse.com on October 31, 2016.
GIST: "Tyrone Matthews could've been sentenced to 23 more years in prison than his case warranted He was charged as a drug dealer, not as the guy who brought the dealer and buyer together. His role as a go-between was spelled out in a police report that was not initially turned over to Matthews' lawyer. Under the law, a prosecutor has to give accused criminals any evidence that they can use in their defense. The former assistant Cayuga County district attorney who initially handled Matthews' case told the defense lawyer about the undisclosed police report in January. A judge later ordered the district attorney, Jon Budelmann, to turn it over. The ex-assistant DA, Jeffrey Domachowski, says Budelmann had ordered him not to disclose the report and secretly withheld similar evidence in 14 other drug cases over the past eight years. Budelmann fired him in June for bucking the DA's practice of not disclosing evidence to defendants and county grand juries, Domachowski said.........The Matthews case was one in which Domachowski started notifying defense lawyers that Budelmann was violating defendants' constitutional right to a fair trial by not disclosing evidence. In many of the 15 cases, as was true in Matthews', the withheld evidence allowed prosecutors to overcharge a defendant, Domachowski said. There was often enough evidence for a lesser charge, but the withheld evidence would've cleared them of more serious felonies, Domachowski said. Domachowski told Syracuse.com Budelmann had a practice of secretly withholding such evidence in drug cases..........Of the 15 cases Domachowski cited, six involve the failure to disclose evidence that the defendant was acting as an agent, not as the dealer. Here's the information in the other nine cases that Domachowski says wasn't disclosed, at least initially: Two involve entrapment -- defendants who were not inclined to sell drugs being lured into it. Two were undisclosed lab reports. Two involved an undisclosed person in the drug transaction. Two showed the informants stole some of the drugs. One involved the failure to disclose there was a missing video of the drug transaction. In one of the entrapment cases, the confidential informant was being paid by police, Domachowski said. The informant was unemployed and in need of money, he said. Domachowski said he presented that evidence to a grand jury over Budelmann's objection, and the defendant was cleared. Seven of the 15 cases are pending. In four cases, the defendants pleaded guilty without knowing of the undisclosed evidence, Domachowski said. In four others, he notified defense lawyers about the evidence and it resulted in a more favorable outcome, he said..........After realizing Budelmann wasn't going to change the practice, Domachowski started secretly recording their conversations, he said. Domachowski would not provide the recordings to Syracuse.com.........Despite Budelmann's orders not to disclose the evidence, Domachowski said he was ethically obligated to do that. He didn't disclose the reports, but started telling defense lawyers early this year about the withheld evidence, he said. One of them, David Elkovitch, said that if he'd known about the evidence Domachowski revealed, he would not likely have advised his client to plead guilty. That client went to jail on a felony drug sales conviction. He was unaware of evidence that showed he was an agent, not a dealer, Domachowski said. Elkovitch has tried in vain to track down the client to see if he wants to ask a judge to reopen his case. That could be happening more often in Cayuga County because of Domachowski's information, Elkovitch said. Domachowski is a former Onondaga County sheriff's deputy who got his law license and worked for years as a defense lawyer. After he started as an assistant DA in November 2014, he was surprised to see so many cases in which defendants were acting as agents for drug dealers or were entrapped by police, and the evidence of it was never disclosed, he said. He came across entrapment and agency cases while he was going through the files and reviewing audio and videotape of the transactions, he said. Some were from cases that were disposed of years ago, he said. Some of the witnesses who bought drugs said they needed money or wanted a better deal in their own case so they set the defendants up, Domachowski said. In those cases, the evidence of entrapment wasn't initially disclosed to the defense, he said. Kopecki, 37, is a 10-year Army veteran who served tours in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from the wars, and problems with his back, knees and ankles. He started using marijuana to treat his conditions under a doctor's recommendation when he lived in California, he said. He was sentenced to five years' probation and 100 hours of community service for the felony conviction. Police seized his coin collection worth $24,000 and his wife's diamond wedding ring, according to a police report. Kopecki plans to ask a judge to overturn his conviction on the grounds that Budelmann secretly withheld evidence that would've benefited the defense."
The entire story 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/