Evidence From Thousands of Cases With Potential Mistakes
What do you get when you put an already overloaded crime lab with less than perfect training and possibly poor supervision? Many, many cases that must be reexamined. According to this article from the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit crime lab was shut down in September of 2008 after an audit found that 10% of ballistic evidence was handled in error. Now those cases are being funneled through the Michigan State Police and the backlog is growing and growing.
This could mean new trials for some inmates locked away in Michigan prisons or probationers serving sentences on the streets. So far, Wayne County Attorney Kym Worthy has identified 147 cases that need to be looked at for potential evidentiary mistakes. Most noteworthy is that these 147 cases are just the beginning.
Thousands and thousands of cases filter through various crime labs in Michigan every year. Each case should be handled with the upmost care, processing evidence carefully and precisely. The freedom of many rests in how the crime lab workers handle their responsibilities. When a crime lab runs a margin of error as large as 10%, it is very frightening and should be immediately addressed.
The backlog caused by the shutdown of this huge lab has created headaches for state labs across Michigan, causing cases to be put on hold for months. While the firearms may be off the street while they are waiting to be processed, the suspects might still be at large, increasing the risk to the public.
Much of the evidence processed in these crime labs are weapons. Workers check for fingerprints and analyze ballistics to determine if the weapons were used in the commission of a crime. Weapons offenses can land people in prison for years but assaults and far more serious crimes often require the analysis of a crime lab.
Facing charges can be intimidating whether you are waiting on evidence to be processed or simply waiting on your trial date. Having an experienced defense attorney can make all the difference. If you are facing criminal charges in Michigan, call me to see how I can help with your case.