Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Kevin Fortney: Cheney crime lab. Seattle; Washington State; Associated Press reports that crime lab manager falsified work; Arson investigation allegedly tainted by lies as to completion of work.

STORY: "State patrol says crime lab manager falsified work," by reporter Gene Johnson, published by Associated Press on April 16, 2013.

GIST: "The manager of the state crime lab in Cheney resigned last week as authorities determined he lied about performing work in several cases, the Washington State Patrol said Tuesday. Kevin Fortney headed the Cheney lab for about a decade. His subordinates prompted the investigation by reporting their concerns to Fortney's boss, the commander of the patrol's Crime Laboratory Division, the patrol said in a news release. It wasn't immediately clear how to contact Fortney. A phone number listed for a Kevin Fortney rang unanswered Tuesday. Fortney was previously mentioned in a 2004 Seattle Post-Intelligencer story about ethical problems at the patrol's crime labs: In late 2000, he was suspended for two days after admitting he cruised Internet porn sites at work, disciplinary records showed. The patrol documented at least five cases - mostly arson investigations - in which Fortney reported in a computer system that he had completed work when other records proved he was lying, said patrol spokesman Bob Calkins. The cases were assigned to Fortney when he worked as a front-line crime lab scientist before he became the manager, and included work that, for example, might have proved whether an accelerant was used to start a fire, Calkins said. The patrol said it found no evidence that anyone was falsely convicted as a result, but an internal management audit of the Cheney operation is underway, and the Crime Lab Division has requested a full evidence audit as well.........The Cheney lab is one of five major crime labs the patrol operates around the state. It mostly handles cases from Eastern Washington."

The entire story can be found at:

See Grits for Breakfast: "Washington State crime lab faces Texas-size quandary: How to deal with old cases processed by lab manager accused of misconduct?"


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