Thursday, June 26, 2014

Houston Police crime lab; Peter Lentz; Houston Chronicle reports that "scores" of cases have been affected by the ousting of a Houston Police Department crime lab analyst - and that an investigation has found evidence of lying and tampering;

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Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

STORY: "Scores of cases affected after Houston Police Department crime lab ousted," by reporter Brian Rogers, published by the Houston Chronicle on June 19, 2014.

SUB-HEADING: "Investigation finds evidence of lying, tampering by tech."

GIST: "Scores of pending criminal cases and past convictions could be in jeopardy in the wake of revelations that a former Houston Police crime lab technician resigned after an internal investigation found evidence of lying, improper procedure and tampering with an official record. Former DNA lab technician Peter Lentz worked on 185 criminal cases, including 51 murders or capital murders, according to letters sent out by the Harris County District Attorney's Office and obtained by the Houston Chronicle through an open records request.........This is the latest in a series of problems to surface in recent months at HPD. A city-commissioned study showed the department failed to investigate 20,000 crimes with workable leads. Earlier this year, Harris County prosecutors identified nearly two dozen criminal cases that could be in jeopardy after they linked them to a Houston homicide detective fired for lying and conducting shoddy investigations. The disclosure about the technician's resignation comes as control of the perennially troubled lab was transferred in April from HPD to a civilian-led board of directors."

The entire story can be found at:

See related post on "The Truth About Forensic Science," by Justin D. McShane; It's headed: "Another week, another forensic science scandal in Texas: HPD."... "Everything, they say, is bigger in Texas. It seems as if Texas has a new forensic science reported scandal every single week. The question is why? Why Texas? I have a theory: it’s the lawyers. Over the last 4 or so years, Texas has been on the forefront nationally in teaching its lawyers the science (or supposed science) behind forensic science. I doubt there are any other states in the US that have as many CLE program hours devoted to the science of being a criminal defense lawyer. This, of course, leads to having a generation of lawyers who apply scientific skepticism to results that are offered in court— as they should. This in turn forces the various laboratories to work harder and smarter so that they find their own mistakes rather than have them blow up in the courtroom. This all is a very good thing. Hopefully, other states will start to see the Texas impact that education in science has for defense lawyers and want to follow along or do better. So next time you see a Texas lawyer, be sure to thank her or him. I will."

The entire post can be found at"


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