STORY: "Mishandling of DNA evidence is found in over 50 cases at crime lab," by reporter Joseph Goldstein, published by the New York Times on January 31, 2012.

GIST: "The New York City medical examiner’s office said Thursday that it had discovered more than 50 cases in which it failed to upload critical DNA evidence samples from crime scenes to the state’s DNA database, preventing those samples from being compared to genetic material from convicted offenders. The error was found during an extensive review undertaken after the office learned that one of its laboratory technicians had missed detecting DNA evidence in at least 26 rape cases — an embarrassing oversight for an agency at the forefront of forensic technology, but one that the office said at the time was isolated and unprecedented. The new discovery has led to the firing of the office’s deputy director of quality assurance in the lab and the suspension of the director of the office’s department of forensic biology, Dr. Mechthild Prinz. The suspension of Dr. Prinz was made “pending further review of her management practices,” according to a statement from Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office..........The latest disclosure comes as the medical examiner’s office is concluding a nearly two-year review of its handling of 800 rape cases. That review began after supervisors discovered that a longtime technician had overlooked DNA evidence on items from at least 26 rape kits, incorrectly reporting that they contained no relevant evidence. In addition, the technician is believed to have misplaced 16 pieces of evidence, returning them to the wrong rape kits, according to documents describing the office’s review. On Monday, a City Council hearing is scheduled to examine the former technician’s errors. “We want to know why it happened, what they have done to fix the problem, and how quality control procedures have been improved,” a spokesman for Speaker Christine C. Quinn said."

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