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.