Only July 27th, the Texas Forensic Science Commission voted to uphold a
panel’s ruling that the Austin Police Department’s crime lab
did not commit professional negligence or misconduct.
The investigation started after two different complaints were filed against
the lab. The first complaint came from Debra Stephens, an employee of
the lab for nine years who was let go last year. She claimed that lab
technicians would release preliminary results to officers before testing
was completed. Though the commission did warn the lab against this practice,
they found that it was not widespread—only one employee was found
to be guilty.
The second complaint was filed by a lab in Euless, near Fort Worth. After
the Austin lab submitted evidence-testing results to a court, an attorney
asked for a second round of testing from the independent lab. The results
of the second inquiry were different from the results of the first and
a complaint was put forward.
The commission found, however, that the differing test results between
the Austin lab and the Euless lab were not unreasonable and ruled that
the APD lab had not committed any wrongdoing.
In addition to the Texas Forensic Science Commission, the lab was also
under investigation by its accrediting agency, the American Society of
Crime Laboratory Director’s Laboratory Accreditation Board. That
agency closed its investigation in the same week and found no evidence
of gross misconduct. Those results were presented to the commission as well.
Crime labs provide crucial evidence for courts and are incredibly important
to the pursuit of justice in our state. We’re thankful that the
APD’s crime lab was found to be compliant with national standards
and we’re hopeful that it can continue to provide trusted results.
If you’ve been
charged with a crime, you need to
contact the Kyle Law Firm. Our lawyers will listen to your side of the story and fight for your
right to a fair trial.
Contact us today to set up a free consultation.