Friday, August 3, 2012

Austin Crime Lab: Grits for Breakfast questions definitions used to clear lab of negligence and misconduct;

STORY: "Defining away negligence and misconduct at crime labs," posted by Grits for Breakfast on July 27, 2012.

GIST: "Those definitions are inadequate for another reason: They only call for negligence or misconduct findings if it affects the result of the test. So if a labworker engages in "drylabbing," it's not necessarily negligence or misconduct under FSC rules if they guessed correctly. E.g., recently Tarrant County self-reported that a crime lab employee had failed to test rape kits when the police report said no penetration occurred, claiming to have performed tests in at least five cases when he did not. Since further testing of those kits found no semen, it didn't change the results and so may not constitute negligence or misconduct under FSC policies. But that doesn't mean that labworker's results should be viewed as reliable. Similarly, the FSC (Forensic Science Commission) found no negligence or misconduct at the El Paso crime lab despite their employing a clearly incompetent analyst for the same reason: No one had yet demonstrated it changed the "result" of any specific test. The current definitions seem to assume the ends justify the means."

The entire post can be found at:


I am monitoring this case. 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:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.