Friday, March 1, 2013

Jonathon Salvador: Texas: Yet another lab analyst suspected of misconduct: Grits For Breakfast reports one conviction overturned and predicts hundreds of more cases he has been involved with will be challenged.

POST: "Conviction overturned based on DPS lab worker misconduct, hundreds more likely to be challenged, posted by "Grits For Breakfast" on February 27, 2013.

GIST: "Hundreds of drug cases will likely be overturned via habeas corpus writs after it was revealed last year that DPS lab analyst Jonathon Salvador fabricated results while testing a batch of Alprazolam tablets. (See Grits' earlier discussion of the case, "Bad apple at DPS crime lab could spoil barrel of convictions.") In a per curiam opinion, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals today overturned the conviction of Junius Sereal out of Galveston because evidence in the case had been destroyed and therefore cannot be retested. From the opinion:......... The trial court has now provided this Court with all the information necessary to resolve this case on the merits. The DPS report shows that the lab technician who was solely responsible for testing the evidence in this case is the scientist found to have committed misconduct, and the evidence in this case has been destroyed and therefore cannot be retested. Applicant is therefore entitled to relief.........Relief was granted in another Galveston case, as well, in a non-published opinion. What's most astonishing: At a meeting of the Forensic Science Commission last month, it was estimated that evidence had similarly been destroyed in 25-50% of the nearly 5,000 cases the now-terminated lab analyst had worked on, meaning hundreds more cases  may be overturned before all is said and done. The analyst performed tests in cases from 36 counties - 1,281 of them from Montgomery County alone." This story hasn't received much traction in the MSM so far, mainly because the big papers no longer routinely send reporters to cover the activities of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, which has been reviewing details of the episode. I'll bet that changes, though, now that defendants are starting to walk out of prison based on the lab worker's alleged incompetence. What a fiasco!"

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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:

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